A lot had to go right for the Arizona Cardinals to finish the 2013 season with a 10-6 record, and plenty did.
The defense, which was good the year before, took things to another level under Todd Bowles, finishing first against the run and sixth overall.
The offense, which had been struggling to find a capable quarterback, was led by an increasingly effective Carson Palmer for 16 games, with the veteran throwing for 4,274 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Yet, while most things were better in 2013 than they were in 2012, one thing that apparently didn’t improve was the offensive line.
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Arizona’s front was the worst in the NFL for the second consecutive season.
The site praised the job done by center Lyle Sendlein while saying left tackle Bradley Sowell was the worst member of a pretty dismal group.
Analysis: It’s rare to see a team finish last two years on the trot, but then it’s nothing Cardinals fans wouldn’t have seen coming. It wasn’t helped by the aforementioned loss of Cooper, while incredibly the team’s long overdue divorce from Levi Brown actually left them in a worse position at left tackle. It’s hard to imagine them being worse next year.
Though no one would argue Arizona’s offensive line was one of the league’s best, the tough grade may be a bit of a surprise given the relative effectiveness of the running game along with the decrease in sacks allowed. However, it is apparent that if the Cardinals could afford to improve only one area this offseason, they have a pretty easy decision to make.