We reached out to Revenge of the Birds’ Seth Cox to get a brief idea of what the expectations from the Arizona Cardinals on both sides of the ball will be this year.
1)The Cardinals have everything you could ask for offensively, what is the 1 thing that could hold them back this year?
They have three new starters on their offensive line. We all saw what happened when they took on a great defense late in the year. That is what the question is for this offense, will D.J. Humphries, Evan Mathis, and A.Q. Shipley be the difference makers in 2016? The team has invested heavily in run-first offensive linemen, and Bruce Arians is the coach, so we will see how that meshes out. Of course, if David Johnson is everything he is supposed to be, then maybe there is a reason they went with good to great run blockers.
2) The David Johnson hype train is out of control considering I still see reports of him not getting 100% of the 1st team reps. It's been fun to watch him grow as a player, though. Can he really be a top 5 RB in the league this year?
He’s the man, but Bruce Arians is also one of the few coaches who seems to love to play matchups. That means David Johnson could see time as a wide receiver, or if Andre Ellington is hot, he’ll get the bulk of the touches. Then there is Chris Johnson, who was third in the NFL before he was lost for the season.
The main thing is, the Cardinals have options if David Johnson stumbles out of the block, which is one of the few things that could hold DJ back from being the top five back he has the capability to be. Of course, if his brief time against Oakland was any indication, he’s just getting warmed up and will have a huge year.
3) We know Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu are studs. But tell us about the expectations on defense. Is Arizona expected to win in shootouts all year?
They invested HEAVILY in the front seven, trading former seventh overall pick Jonathan Cooper and a 2015 second round pick for Chandler Jones, then taking the falling Robert Nkemdiche in the first round.
Then they revamped their secondary, turning over the second corner spot and the strong safety spot.
They want to be a lock down defense, not a defense that can be gashed at the end of the season for 49 in the NFC Championship game.
They are going full 2014 Denver Broncos, they are just hoping there is not a one season learning curve needed.
They expect that the additions will allow guys who were good, to take the next step in 2016, Markus Golden and Rodney Gunter or get back to being great in Calais Campbell.
Also, Deone Bucannon is close to being a star, so I would be remiss if I didn’t mention him.
What matchups are you looking forward to the most tonight? I want to see how the offensive tackles hold up against Chandler Jones