The Arizona Cardinals surprised many by winning 10 games in 2013, though they still fell painfully short of a playoff spot.
So, entering the offseason the goal set out by GM Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians was to improve, and by way of many free agent additions, the belief is they did just that.
In fact, NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal wrote that he thinks Arizona’s offensive line is the most improved group of any in the NFC West.
That’s why our choice for the most improved position group in the division truly comes down to one player. The Arizona Cardinals’ left tackle situation has been among the very worst in football for five years running. Signing Jared Veldheer immediately gives the group an above average starter, and allows Cardinals fans to dream of the left side of the offensive line actually being a weapon. Last year’s No. 7 overall pick, guard Jonathan Cooper, will return from a broken leg to play alongside Veldheer. The team also signed guard Ted Larsen for depth; he’s started 31 career games.
On paper, the Cardinals defense’s talent rivals any group in the league. Bruce Arians has proven he can coach up offense, and their talent is catching up to the defense. In Andre Ellington, Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald and Ted Ginn, Arians has a lot of explosive playmakers to use. Now the Cardinals should have the protection necessary to test opposing defenses down the field.
Of course, the Cardinals did lose some players too, most notably linebacker Karlos Dansby.
But from the way it seems, the team went into free agency with a plan and executed it with precision.
Left tackle and offensive line depth? Check. Speedy wide receiver and another tight end? Check. More help for the secondary? Check.
The Cardinals were close last year but still needed a little more to challenge both the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks.
And while no one knows if every move they’ve made will work out, there’s no denying they appear to be exactly what the team needed.