It’s no secret that Bruce Arians has changed the appearance of the Arizona Cardinals franchise since becoming the head coach in 2013.
Arizona has had records of 10-6, 11-5 and 13-3 under Arians, including a Coach of the Year award in 2014 and an appearance in the NFC championship game in 2015.
In an ESPN NFL Nation roundtable, reporters from the Cardinals’ three NFC West opponents were asked how Arians has changed the national perception of his team.
Los Angeles Rams reporter, Nick Wagoner, spoke about how Arians has helped produce the best stretch of Cardinals football in the past three decades.
Before Arians’ arrival, the Cardinals had three winning seasons in the previous 28 years. He has had a winning record in each of his three years with the team. But with Arians, it’s not just about the success Arizona has had but the style with which it has happened. Arians’ gruff, honest demeanor has given the Cardinals an air of: “This is who we are, if you don’t like us, beat us.”
Since Arians has come on board, the Cardinals have gone 4-2 against the Rams and the rivalry of the two teams should only grow more intense with the Rams recent move to Los Angeles.
Another team that the Cardinals have beaten up on as of late are the San Francisco 49ers. Paul Gutierrez talks about how the Cardinals have owned the head-to-head matchups between the two squads over the past couple seasons.
Surely Colin Kaepernick is still having nightmares of what the Arizona Cardinals did to him in the desert last season — four interceptions, two pick-sixes, a 14-0 deficit after two offensive series, a pair of sacks, a passer rating of 16.7, all en route to a 47-7 blowout loss… Truly, they’ve become the Bullies of Glendale to the Niners of Santa Clara. The Cardinals have won three of the last four meetings with the 49ers by an average score of 30-11.
Arizona’s games against the 49ers are winnable games after San Francisco did not do much to improve their roster this offseason.
However, two games that could be viewed as toss-ups — in Week 7 and Week 16 — are against the Cardinals’ most bitter rivals, the Seattle Seahawks.
The NFC West division crown will likely come down to the Seahawks and Cardinals, making the two games between one another of the utmost importance.
Sheil Kapadia, who covers the Seahawks, discusses Arians’ ability to get players on his team that adapt to his style of play.
The Cardinals have developed into one of the most aggressive teams in the league on both sides of the ball, whether that means shots downfield on offense, blitzing on defense or taking risks with personnel moves. They’ve done a tremendous job of adding talent to the roster that fits what Arians wants to do… It’d be a surprise if those two teams weren’t competing for the division again this year.