ARIZONA CARDINALS

USA Today: Cardinals not expected to contend for playoffs in 2018

Jul 19, 2018, 1:20 PM | Updated: Jul 23, 2018, 3:29 pm

Presented By...

After finishing 8-8 in Bruce Arians’ final season as head coach, the Arizona Cardinals have gone through full-scale changes heading into the 2018 campaign.

Gone are quarterback Carson Palmer, safety Tyrann Mathieu, wide receivers John Brown and Jaron Brown, defensive end Frostee Rucker and cornerback/special teams captain Justin Bethel. The team brought in quarterback Sam Bradford, right guard Justin Pugh, right tackle Andre Smith, wide receiver Brice Butler and cornerback Jamar Taylor to replace the lost production.

Under first-year head coach Steve Wilks and new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy the Cardinals will adopt a new playing style. Wilks is the Cardinals’ first defense-oriented coach since Dave McGinnis, who last coached the team in 2003.

With the NFL regular season less than two months away, USA Today’s Nate Davis gave his predictions for how the NFC West will play out. Davis has the Rams winning the division with a 12-4 record, the 49ers and Cardinals are picked to finish at 7-9 and the Seahawks round out the division at 4-12.

If they get steady play from Sam Bradford (or rookie Josh Rosen), the Cards could really surprise given the return of David Johnson and play of a defense that doesn’t get sufficient credit. But with Bradford’s fragility and Rosen’s inexperience, hard too expect too much under center.

If the Cardinals are going to outperform those expectations, a healthy David Johnson could make a huge difference.

So too would keeping Bradford or Josh Rosen healthy will be important if the offense is to have success in 2018. With some of the most daunting defenses residing in the NFC West, the offensive line will be challenged throughout the year. By adding Pugh and Smith, the Cardinals think they have done enough to protect the quarterback and give Johnson and the running backs open lanes to run through.

A healthy offensive line could be the biggest difference between finishing 7-9, and being one of the NFL’s surprise teams.

Presented By
Western Governors University

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals D.J. Humphries...

Vincent DeAngelis

Cardinals’ OT D.J. Humphries talks Marvin Harrison Jr., recovery from torn ACL

Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle D.J. Humphries expressed that he thinks Marvin Harrison Jr. is too easy to miss in the 2024 NFL Draft.

4 hours ago

Malik Nabers speaks with reporters at 2024 NFL Draft Combine...

Tyler Drake

Cardinals add Malik Nabers, not Marvin Harrison Jr., in Lance Zierlein’s latest mock draft

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein zigged instead of zagged on Monday, mock-drafting Malik Nabers, not Marvin Harrison Jr., to the Cardinals at No. 4.

4 hours ago

Jacob Cowing runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL Draft Combine...

Tyler Drake

Projecting where Arizona Cardinals could draft NFL Combine standouts

A look at some of the combine standouts who could fill a Cardinals' need and how they could realistically find their way to Arizona:

8 hours ago

Notre Dame offensive lineman Joe Alt runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine, Sunday, Mar...

Tom Kuebel

Cardinals could trade up to pick OL prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft

After an impressive showing by the offensive lineman at the 2024 NFL Draft Combine, the Cardinals might have to trade up from pick No. 27 to get a top prospect.

1 day ago

Rome Odunze...

Alex Weiner

How did Rome Odunze measure at NFL Draft Combine after meeting with Cardinals?

Before taking the field to run the 40-yard dash, Rome Odunze met with several teams sitting atop the draft, including the Cardinals.

2 days ago

Olumuyiwa Fashanu...

Jesse Morrison

NFL Draft OL prospect Olu Fashanu had ‘smooth meeting’ with Cardinals, Jonathan Gannon

One of the top prospects in the NFL draft, offensive tackle Olumuyiwa Fashanu seemed interested in the Cardinals at the NFL combine.

2 days ago

USA Today: Cardinals not expected to contend for playoffs in 2018