ARIZONA CARDINALS

A Corolla at running back might work for the Arizona Cardinals

Mar 18, 2015, 7:32 PM | Updated: 7:33 pm

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I didn’t start making real money in this business until I was 33 years old.

My first instinct was to get a new truck, the kind Marty McFly found waiting for him in the garage after he changed history. I embraced my inner Nuke LaLoosh: I wanted to announce my presence with authority.

It was predictable and foolish. Within a year I was done, frustrated by the $85 it took to feed the monster every five days. The thirsty beast was traded in for a wimpy Corolla. I took a giant loss on the devaluation but patted myself on the back every time I stopped at a Circle K to fill up the four-cylinder wienie mobile.

Lesson learned.

I wonder if Adrian Peterson is the new truck.

The Cardinals are starting to have the kind of success that makes the fans, and maybe even the Cardinals themselves, antsy to acquire the one big, shiny new part that will…well…announce their presence with authority. Back-to-back double-digit win seasons, the coach of the year, the executive of the year, the starting quarterback returning from injury and the iconic face of the franchise back with very little fuss suddenly augmented by the best running back of his era.

The Cardinals would be the life of the party.

There’s more to Peterson than just winning a press conference. He is the best running back of his era. He didn’t play last year, which should delay his 30-year-old expiration date. Peterson is exactly the type of running back Bruce Arians’ offense was made for. This club has a window to win it all as long as Carson Palmer is at QB. Peterson fits quite well into that window. Plus he would scratch an itch that has long bothered Valley sports fans.

When was the last time a sports franchise in this town landed “the big one”? Charles Barkley? Randy Johnson? Steve Nash? Lately our teams have swung big and missed; Peyton Manning, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Masahiro Tanaka. Put in simple terms: We’re due. That’s just the kind of thinking that put me behind the wheel of a truck I didn’t need.

The Corolla argument is simple. Peterson is expensive and old. The quality of running backs this year is fantastic, according to those who are paid to say so. Get a player right out of college and pair him with a healthy Andre Ellington behind a re-made offensive line and your running game could flourish. So goes the theory anyway. With cap space saved, you’re now free to re-sign your own and try to sustain this run for as long as possible.

This Corolla plan requires trust in Steve Keim to draft the right guy in the right round. It’s been pointed out the Cardinals don’t have a great history of drafting running backs. OK. But it’s Keim’s draft now, and he’s performed well enough the last two go-arounds to suggest he can find the guy.

As the story goes, he was the voice in the room advocating Peterson over Levi Brown all those years ago. Keim can go get the player he should have had all along or trust that he is good enough at what he does to find the next one. Or someone reasonably close.

For what it’s worth, with 165,000 miles on it, the Corolla still runs like a charm.

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