5-4-15: The Arizona Cardinals were potentially a healthy quarterback away from an NFC West crown and a deep playoff run a year ago. Head coach Bruce Arians and co. wisely drafted as such in the 2015 NFL Draft. Two huge needs going into the draft rested on the defensive side, as the team lacked an impact pass rusher and could use depth across the defensive line. Outside linebacker Markus Golden has the ability to be an impact edge rusher in their 3-4 base defense, while defensive lineman Rodney Gunter has the size and versatility to play on the end or mold into a future nose tackle. Arizona also stole stud offensive tackle D.J. Humphries with their first round pick, who inexplicably slid down the draft a bit. Humphries is the final play across a dramatically improved offensive line that could play a key role in the Cardinals rising up in the NFC West this year. For a complete view of Arizona’s 2015 draft class, read on:
4-9-15: Arizona lost Darnell Dockett right away to start free agency and stud corner Antonio Cromartie wasn’t far behind. The Cards’ once nasty defense has been slowly chipped away over the course of free agency, but Arizona has done a solid job filling holes. Sean Weatherspoon and Lamarr Woodley were brought in to help on the inside and outside of Arizona’s 3-4 at the linebacker position, while the team kept it’s defensive line alive by re-signing Alameda Ta’amu and bringing in Cory Redding. Mike Iupati was easily their top signing, however, as they stole the 49ers’ elite mauler and will slide him in as a stud right guard right away. The Cardinals will be getting healthy across the board in 2015, and could be a stud running back and impact defender away from making serious noise.
3-9-15: The Arizona Cardinals were able to go 11-5 and make the playoffs last year despite being ravaged by injuries. Mission A in 2015? Get healthy. The team will get quarterback Carson Palmer back at full strength, along with Tyrann Mathieu, Andre Ellington and others. The team made sure Larry Fitzgerald would have a chance at retiring as a Cardinal with a new two-year deal, while the Cards’ are said to be in the mix for an impact runner like Adrian Peterson. The key could be on the defensive side of the ball for Arizona, though, as the team lost defensive end Darnell Dockett already and cornerback Antonio Cromartie isn’t expected back, either. If the Cardinals want to give it a serious go in the NFC West again in 2015, they’ll have to get better on offense while also not losing any ground defensively.
1-6-15: Ryan Lindley only mustered 82 yards on 28 throws on Saturday, as the Cardinals fell to the Carolina Panthers, 27-16. The rushing game was not efficient either, as Carolina’s defense dominated Arizona’s offense. With the Cardinals being eliminated, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is interviewing for the New York Jets’ head coaching position on Wednesday.
12-29-14: Logan Thomas did not seem ready to start Sunday’s game, so Ryan Lindley stepped back into the starting role and completed 23 of his 39 passing attempts for 316 yards and two touchdowns, but the San Francisco 49ers intercepted him three times, as the Cardinals fell, 20-17. The Cardinals will travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers in the first week of the playoffs.
12-23-14: Ryan Lindley still has not scored a touchdown in his NFL career. He completed just 18 of his 44 passing attempts for 216 yards, as the Cardinals fell to the visiting Seattle Seahawks, 35-6, and dropped to 7-1 at home on the season. Bruce Arians said that he expects Logan Thomas to make his first career start when Arizona travels to San Francisco on Sunday.
12-17-14: With their 12-6 win on Thursday, the Cardinals were the first NFL team to 11 victories in 2014, as they tied their franchise record for the most wins in a season and clinched their first playoff birth since 2009. Unfortunately, Drew Stanton was carted off the field in the third quarter with a right knee injury, and Ryan Lindley will start while he is out.
12-9-14: Larry Fitzgerald returned after missing two games due to a sprained knee, and the Cardinals’ two-game losing streak ended with a 17-14 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Andre Ellington’s season is over due to season-ending hernia surgery, and Arizona is planning to use a running back by committee. Kerwynn Williams ran for 100 yards on 19 carries on Sunday.
12-3-14: The Larry Fitzgerald-less Cardinals continued their struggles on Sunday in Atlanta. They dropped their second consecutive contest and suffered more injuries to important players. Although Andre Ellington’s hip pointer does not appear to be too serious, he still may miss Week 14. Safety Tyrann Mathieu will most likely miss the next three games due to left thumb surgery.
11-26-14: Drew Stanton and the Cardinals could only muster three points in their second loss of the season. Andre Ellington rushed 10 times for just 24 yards in the 19-3 loss. Arizona was without Larry Fitzgerald, which was his first missed game since 2007. It snapped the second-longest streak for an active wide receiver.
11-19-14: For the first time since 1948, the Cardinals have started a season with a 9-1 record. They moved to 6-0 at home in 2014 with their 14-6 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Surprisingly, all of Arizona’s points came in the first quarter, and neither team scored in the second half of the contest.
11-12-14: The Cardinals continue to be at the top of the league, as they moved 8-1 with their 31-14 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. Drew Stanton and Arizona put together 21 unanswered points to win the contest. Unfortunately, Carson Palmer, who signed a three-year extension with the Cardinals earlier in the week, is done for the season due to a torn ACL.
11-6-14: Arizona struggled in the first quarter in Dallas, but Carson Palmer and the Cardinals bounced back to outscore the Cowboys by 21 points the rest of the way. With the 28-17 victory, the Cardinals moved to a league-best 7-1 on the season. Palmer threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday.
10-30-14: The Cardinals moved their perfect home record to 4-0 on the season, as they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-20. With very little time remaining, Carson Palmer connected with John Brown for a 75-yard touchdown, which gave the team the lead for good. Arizona looks to make it four wins in a row at Dallas on Sunday.
10-21-14: The Cardinals scored in all four quarters on Sunday, as they defeated the winless Oakland Raiders, 24-13. Carson Palmer completed 22 of his 31 passing attempts for 253 yards and two touchdowns. On the other side of the football, Arizona’s defense held Derek Carr to 173 passing yards and Darren McFadden to just 48 yards on the ground.
10-14-14: Carson Palmer returned from his shoulder injury and kept the Cardinals perfect at home this season. Palmer threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns, as he helped Arizona outscore the Washington Redskins, 16-7, in the second half. Larry Fitzgerald caught six passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. Michael Floyd also got into the end zone as the first score of the game.
10-9-14: Even after having a bye week to rest, Carson Palmer is still unable to play due to a shoulder injury. With Drew Stanton suffering a concussion on Sunday at Denver, Logan Thomas was forced into action, and he did not look like an NFL-ready quarterback. Unfortunately, the Broncos also destroyed Arizona’s defense as the Cardinals lost their first game of the season.
10-1-14: Fortunately for Carson Palmer, the Cardinals were on bye for Week 4. He said that he will definitely be back for Arizona’s game on Sunday in Denver. Including Week 5’s game against the Broncos, the undefeated Cardinals will be alternating road and home games each of the next six Sundays.
9-25-14: The Cardinals had a frustrating week off the field after they placed linebacker John Abraham on season-ending injured reserve with a concussion and deactivated Jonathan Dwyer after he was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault. However, Drew Stanton replaced Carson Palmer again and kept the Cardinals undefeated on the season with a 23-14 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
9-16-14: Who knew that the Cardinals would be atop the NFC West this early in the 2014 season? Filling in for the injured Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton led the team to 15 answered points in the fourth quarter. The final touchdown of the game came from Ted Ginn Jr. on his 71-yard punt return.
9-10-14: Andre Ellington battled through a foot injury to start for the Cardinals. He had a very important 18-yard rush during Arizona’s game-winning drive as Carson Palmer led the team down the field. John Brown scored his first career NFL touchdown on a screen pass, which completed the Cardinals’ comeback to take the 18-17 lead, which was the eventual final score.
9-4-14: On Monday night, the Cardinals will host the San Diego Chargers in the final game of Week 1. Unfortunately for Cardinals fans, Arizona has not beaten the Chargers since 2001. Last week, the Cardinals reached a one-year agreement with defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, who has had at least one sack in each of his 10 NFL seasons.
8-26-14: On Tuesday, the Cardinals activated defensive back Tyrann Mathieu from the PUP list. On Sunday, Carson Palmer connected with Larry Fitzgerald on the longest offensive play of the game, but the quarterback was very inefficient. He misfired on 12 of his 19 pass attempts and threw an interception in Arizona’s 19-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. On Monday, the Cardinals released longtime kicker Jay Feely. Chandler Catanzaro is their new starting kicker.
8-20-14: The NFL’s active sack leader John Abraham reported to training camp on Thursday. On that day, Arizona also signed former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Desmond Bishop. Coincidentally, Bishop and the Cardinals played the Vikings on Saturday, but unfortunately fell, 30-28. Jonathan Dwyer, who was with the Pittsburgh Steelers during his first four years in the NFL, scored the first touchdown of the game. Unfortunately, the team confirmed that defensive tackle Darnell Dockett suffered a season-ending torn ACL in Monday’s practice.
8-14-14: On Wednesday, Cardinals tight end Jake Ballard retired from the NFL after playing in eight games for Arizona last year. Then, on Saturday, the Cardinals destroyed the visiting Houston Texans in their preseason opener, 32-0. Carson Palmer, who completed all five of his pass attempts, began the scoring barrage early with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald.
8-5-14: On Saturday, eight-time Pro Bowler Aeneas Williams, who spent most of his career with the Cardinals, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after being a finalist in 2012 and 2013. There was also great news for Cardinals fans with Patrick Peterson and the team agreeing on a $70 million extension.
7-30-14: The Arizona Cardinals made sure their aggressive defense retained one of it’s top stars, as they locked up star cornerback Patrick Peterson to a massive five-year, $70 million extension this week. Peterson has been removed from special teams and offensive packages to focus solely on improving upon his status as one of the league’s top corners. The word only gets stronger and stronger that second-year running back Andre Ellington is going to be Arizona’s “bell cow” in the backfield in 2014. Ellington has shown up to camp with added muscle and figures to get the bulk of the work at running back in 2014. Arizona pass rusher Jonathan Abraham was reportedly busted for a DUI back in June, but it wasn’t made publicly known until just this week. He’s not expected to face any punishment from the league this year.
7-15-14: Rob Housler was primed to breakout in 2013, but was bogged down by injuries and inconsistency. Despite rookie tight end Troy Niklas being on the shelf with an injury of his own, Housler is reportedly entering Arizona’s training camp as the fourth tight end on the depth chart. That could lead to Housler being cut or traded soon after camp opens for veterans on July 25th. On the bright side, Arizona seems to be enamored with expected starting running back Andre Ellington, who they project to see 22-25 touches per game. Ellington should lose some carries to goal-line back Jonathan Dwyer, but for the most part is being viewed as the Cards’ top offensive weapon heading into 2014. On the defensive side of the ball, Arizona feels good about the progress of safety Tyrann Mathieu (knee) who is targeting a week one return.
6-5-14: The Arizona Cardinals were dealt a major blow earlier this week, as stud inside linebacker Daryl Washington was handed “at least” a one-year ban thanks to his second violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy for the second year in a row. A combination of Kevin Minter and Larry Foote will attempt to fill in for Washington, who was easily one of the game’s best inside presences leading into his suspension. Elsewhere, Arizona brought on veteran linebacker Ernie Sims to increase depth at the position. The team also pumped up the hype for second-year running back Andre Ellington, as well, suggesting his role could balloon to an insane 25-30 touches per game.
5-19-14: The Arizona Cardinals entered the 2014 NFL Draft needing help at safety and had also been rumored to be interested in landing a quarterback prospect for Bruce Arians to develop. Here is how their draft unfolded:
Round 1. Pick 27 Deone Bucannon, S, Washington St.
Round 2. Pick 20 Troy Niklas, TE , Notre Dame
Round 3. Pick 20 Kareem Martin, DE , North Carolina
Round 3. Pick 27 John Brown, WR, Pittsburg St.
Round 4. Pick 20 Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
Round 5. Pick 20 Ed Stinson, DL, Alabama
Round 6. Pick 20 Walt Powell, WR, Murray State
AZ reached a bit for safety Bucannon in round one, but he fills a big need and is a balanced safety with some interesting upside. Niklas offers some much needed competition for the somewhat disappointing Rob Housler at tight end, while John Brown’s explosiveness could also help open things up in Arizona’s passing game. Logan Thomas was a minor reach in round four, but has amazing size, a big arm and very good athleticism. Thomas gives Arians a pet project at quarterback and could potentially be an ideal fit for his vertical offense down the road. Kareem Martin and Ed Stinson are solid depth add ons for Arizona’s aging defensive line.
5-9-14: The Arizona Cardinals were responsible for the second major reach in round one, as they drafted safety Deone Bucannon. While Bucannon fills a need and has the size and range to be an excellent pairing with Tyrann Matheiu at the back of Arizona’s pass defense, he probably is a second round talent that they could have waited on. Despite the mild reach, the Cardinals did address a key need and will look to keep adding impact defensive players moving forward in the draft.
4-28-14: The Arizona Cardinals were a solid 10-6 in 2013 and no one even knew it. To make a greater imprint in the NFL in 2014, they’ll need to work on establishing the run, while their defense will have to get even nastier. They seem to be set in most spots, but they are aging on the defensive line, quite possibly making defensive end their biggest need. Ra’Shede Hageman is a popular pick for them in round one, as he has the size and athleticism to play all over the line. They’ll also be on the lookout for a stud pass rusher, as they continue to age in this area, as well. They could grab someone like Kony Ealy early, or they could take advantage of a deep 3-4 OLB class and grab one in round two. Tight end is probably the lone offensive position they could make a splash at, as Rob Housler has been a disappointment so far. Carson Palmer is also not getting any younger, so it wouldn’t be crazy to see the Cards grab a big-armed passer to learn behind him.
4-18-14: Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals narrowly missed out on a trip to the playoffs last year despite finishing 10-6, so they know they’ll have to be even better in 2014. They’ll start their plight for a post-season run in week one of the preseason, as they welcome the Houston Texans into the desert. They take their first road trip of the preseason a week later, as they look to dispose of Adrian Peterson’s Minnesota Vikings. Palmer and co. will hit the field for extended action in week three, when a solid contest with the Cincinnati Bengals will be televised for the entire nation to see. Arizona will likely rest it’s top players a week later in the finale, as they work out any lingering wrinkles in a tough road game against the San Diego Chargers.
4-7-14: Arizona’s main issues entering the offseason were their sometimes shaky offensive line and overall depth on defense. They started to address both early on, as they brought in stud offensive tackle Jared Veldheer from the Raiders, while also shoring up their secondary with talented veteran corner, Antonio Cromartie. Running back Jonathan Dwyer and return man Ted Ginn were added for extra offensive and special teams depth. Arizona suffered just two significant losses with Karlos Dansby taking off for Cleveland and Andre Roberts going to Washington.
3-21-14: Arizona kicked off free agency by saying no thanks to running back Rashard Mendenhall, who quickly retired. The Cardinals replaced him with former Steeler Jonathan Dwyer, although they could still wind up being in the market for a running back to pair with the explosive Andre Ellington out of the backfield. With Andre Roberts jetting to the Redskins, the Cardinals landed their likely slot replacement in return specialist Tedd Ginn Jr., while also spicing up their passing attack with tight end John Carlson. With Rob Housler failing to stay healthy or live up to the hype, Carlson could have a shot at proving to be a huge addition. On the defensive side, the Cardinals lost inside linebacker Karlos Dansby, but were able to hang onto solid depth pieces in Marcus Benard and Matt Shaughnessy. The biggest move of all, however, was landing former Oakland Raiders stud tackle, Jared Veldheer, who should help protect the immobile Carson Palmer and help improve an inconsistent offense. Moving forward, Arizona still will be on the hunt for pass-rushing help, as well as general depth on defense and in the offensive line.
12-31-13: The Cardinals needed to win and have the New Orleans Saints lose to get into the playoffs. Neither would happen in week 17. Carson Palmer did all he could to make it as close as possible, however, as he topped 400 passing yards and tossed two touchdowns before his Cardinals fell to the San Francisco 49ers, 23-20.
12-24-13: Carson Palmer played horribly for much of his week 16 battle with the Seattle Seahawks, but he saved his best for last in a thrilling 17-10 road win. Palmer connected with wide receiver Michael Floyd on a fourth quarter touchdown and Arizona’s defense held the Seahawks in check to get the huge win.
12-17-13: Arizona blew a 17-point fourth quarter lead in week 15, but managed to survive in overtime thanks to a Ryan Fitzpatrick interception setting up the deciding field goal. Andre Ellington totaled over 150 yards in this one, while Rashard Mendenhall punched in two touchdown runs to help the Cardinals escape with a 37-34 win.
12-10-13: Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington took advantage of the St. Louis Rams’ weak run defense, as they both found the end-zone in a solid 30-10 home win. The big win kept Arizona in position to make a run at an NFC wild card playoff spot, setting them up with a huge week 17 season finale with the division rival San Francisco 49ers.
Carson Palmer kept the Cardinals in the game. Then he got them back in the game. But he was ultimately arguably why Arizona lost the game. Palmer put up 302 yards and three touchdowns, but also turned the ball over three times as Arizona dropped to 7-5 with a 24-21 loss on the road to the Philadelphia Eagles.
11-26-13: Bruce Arians coached Andrew Luck as a rookie in 2012. In 2013, he abused him. Arians gave his Cardinals’ defense the tools and knowledge needed to hold Luck to just over 160 yards passing and just over 51% completion percentage. On the flip-side, Carson Palmer did as he pleased en route to over 300 passing yards and two touchdowns in the 40-11 Arizona win at home.
11-19-13: Rashard Mendenhall and Larry Fitzgerald scored early to help keep pace with the home team Jaguars, while Michael Floyd piled on over 190 receiving yards in a 27-14 win for the Cardinals. Arizona’s gritty defense put the clamps on the Jaguars after a big passing score early, and shut Chad Henne and co. down in the second half to help get the Cards to 6-4.
11-12-13: Carson Palmer turned the ball over twice but also topped 240 passing yards and threw two scores as Arizona combined it’s efforts on both sides of the ball to nail down a close 27-24 win in week 10. The Houston Texans kept it close throughout, but an early fumble recovery for a touchdown sparked the Cardinals to start the game and they used solid balance on offense to keep Houston at bay to help get to 5-4 on the year.
10-30-13: Andre Ellington stepped up with starting running back Rashard Mendenhall out with an injury, as he piled on 162 total yards and a touchdown in a big 27-13 win for the Cards. This one was more about the dominance of Arizona’s defense, however, as the Cardinals picked off Matt Ryan four times and sacked him four times, as well.
10-22-13: Arizona head coach Bruce Arians said earlier this season that he didn’t “see the dominance” in the NFC West. Unfortunately, his Cardinals couldn’t backup his confident talk at home in week seven, as the Seattle Seahawks out-muscled them in a 34-22 rout. Arizona simply could never get their rushing attack going, while Carson Palmer threw his 12th and 13th interceptions of the year to help Arizona drop to 3-4 on the year.
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said earlier in the year that he didn’t “see the dominance” in the NFC West. He was referring to the notion that the Cardinals didn’t stand a chance against the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers for the division. Arizona ended up being wrong in the short-term, as they fell to San Francisco 32-20 on the road in week six. However, Arians may have had a point in the long-term. The Cardinals kept this one close throughout, as the score sat 22-20 up until just under seven minutes remained in the game.
The Arizona Cardinals welcomed back linebacker Daryl Washington as they played host the Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. What proceeded was a thing of beauty, as the Arizona defense racked up a ridiculous seven sacks and four turnovers in a huge 22-6 win to send themselves to a solid 3-2 start. Washington was easily the spark Arizona needed, as he racked up nine total tackles, two sacks, an interception and a deflected pass in the win. Arizona’s offense wasn’t even close to as impressive as their defense, but it didn’t have to be, as the Cardinals dominated the Panthers in the desert in week five.
The Arizona Cardinals avoided falling to 1-3 by the skin of their teeth in week four, as star cornerback Patrick Peterson stepped up with two huge interceptions late in the game to help set up a touchdown and the game-winning field goal by Jay Feely with under two minutes remaining. Arizona’s offense was ineffective for much of the game, as Carson Palmer tossed two interceptions and the running game could only muster up 56 total yards against a tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers run defense. Peterson’s heroics came just in the nick of time, however, as the huge turnovers gave Arizona a short field and allowed Palmer to connect with Larry Fitzgerald for a 10-10 tie with just over three minutes left. The second interception of rookie quarterback Mike Glennon helped seal the deal and keep the Cardinals in the race for the NFC West division.
9-10-13: Carson Palmer was introduced to the tough NFC West when he took on the St. Louis Rams in week one, who picked him off once, forced a fumble and sacked him four times. Despite being knocked around, Palmer still looked good in his Arizona debut, connecting with Larry Fitzgerald for two touchdowns, while putting up over 320 passing yards. It wasn’t enough in the end, however, as the Rams got the ball back late via their defense, which ended up leading to the eventual game-winning kick by Greg “Legatron” Zuerlein. Next week, the Cardinals will host the Lions.
9-3-13: Hare are the Cardinals' final roster cuts heading into the 2013 NFL season: Cuts: S Jonathon Amaya, C Adam Bice, WR Dan Buckner, DT David Carter, TE Alex Gottlieb, WR Charles Hawkins, OT Jamaal Johnson-Webb, G Senio Kelemete, LB Zack Nash, LB Colin Parker, TE Richard Quinn, G Chilo Rachal, LB Kenny Rowe, DT Padric Scott, S Curtis Taylor, WR Kerry Taylor, WR Mike Thomas, LB Reggie Walker.
8-20-13: In the lowest scoring game in week two of the preseason, the Cardinals won their second straight, defeating the Cowboys 12-7. Arizona made it 7 straight quarters without allowing a point until allowing a 4th quarter TD to Cowboys backup Alex Tanney. Carson Palmer was 7 of 15 for 66 yards, while Drew Stanton completed 10 of 20 passes for 152 yards and an interception. The Cardinals offense left much to be desired by Jay Feely knocked through 4 field goals which was enough for the win. Next weekend, the Cardinals will host the Chargers.
8-11-13: The Cardinals opened up the 2013 preseason with a 17-0 win over the Green Bay Packers. Rookie Stepfan Taylor rushed for 63 yards on 21 carries. QB Drew Stanton threw for 107 yards and a TD.
7-10-13: The Arizona Cardinals were a complete mess in 2012, but have a legit chance at turning things right around now that they have a competent quarterback in Carson Palmer under center. The team also beefed up their rushing attack by adding veteran Rashard Mendenhall, and are now just some better offensive line play from a drastically improved offense. On defense, the Cardinals are still a very talented and aggressive unit, and might be even more solid against the run this year with new safety Yeremiah Bell added to the mix.
6-12-13: AZ watched a spirited 4-0 start drop the team down to the bottom of the AFC West. However, with the addition of veteran quarterback Carson Palmer and hopes for a solid draft, fans could have hopes for a trip to the playoffs for the first time since the days of Kurt Warner.
While that’s no guarantee, the Cardinals’ schedule at least has some big-time matchups to look forward to, as well as some excellent value buys on their 2013 home schedule.
2013 Cardinals Draft Overview: