State of the Offense:
Even though John Skelton has been named the starter for Week 1, it is still unclear whether Skelton will hold onto the job throughout the whole season. Skelton has a better rapport with Larry Fitzgerald than Kevin Kolb, but the difference between the two is not notable overall. Whoever is under center for the season will have plenty of firepower, but very little protection. The much maligned left tackle Levi Brown has landed on IR, but it’s currently unclear if he will benefit from the new mid-season IR ruling. In Brown’s place is veteran journeyman D’Anthony Batiste. Batiste and rookie right tackle Bobby Massie will be tasked with keeping Skelton upright, while also trying to open holes for the Chris Wells and Ryan Williams in the running game.
State of the Defense:
Although they ranked 17th in points per game last year, the Cardinals are rightfully very excited about their defense entering this season. That excitement stems from the units performances towards the end of last season. With young stars like Sam Acho, Daryl Washington, Calais Campbell and Patrick Peterson developing on every play, not just every game, the Cardinals are hoping to be a top 10 defense this year. The veterans are in place to help carry them there also as William Gay joins Kerry Rhodes and Adrian Wilson in the secondary, to go along with Darnell Dockett and Paris Lenon upfront.
Obviously when you have Larry Fitzgerald on your team he is going to be your best player. However with the team’s quarterback situation, their receivers will be hindered. Therefore the team’s strength is most likely to be their secondary. William Gay is a solid veteran who will improve the cornerback spot across from young star Patrick Peterson, while Kerry Rhodes and Adrian Wilson are expecting to be fully healthy for the season unlike last year.
When Levi Brown is your starting left tackle, it’s a problem. When Levi Brown goes down and you have to replace him with Levi Brown’s backup, you’re in trouble. D’Anthony Batiste and rookie Bobby Massie come into a starting offensive line that looks set to be a major problem for the Cardinals again this season.
Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells and Ryan Williams are both finally healthy in the backfield. Because of the fragilities at quarterback, the Cardinals will need to rely on a strong running game if they are to be an effective offense. With Larry Fitzgerald on the outside and a promising defense, establishing the run could be the difference in winning the division and another lost season in the basement.
Cian Fahey writes for Irishcentral and the Guardian. You can follow him on twitter @Cianaf