The Arizona Cardinals enter their 2017 Red and White Scrimmage with the hopes that their window to compete isn’t closed. After a disappointing 7-8-1 season the Cardinals are flying under the radar into Training Camp with a chip on their collective shoulders – they’re looking to silence the critics once and for all. However, the only way to do this is to capture the franchises 1st elusive Super Bowl title. With what could be the final Season for Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Quarterback Carson Palmer there is plenty of urgency in the Cardinals locker room to finally bring a Lombardi trophy home to Glendale. Some questions posed – on Offense, Defense, and Special Teams – were answered as the Cardinals battled it out in their Red and White Scrimmage.
Without the presence of Running Back David Johnson in the Arizona Cardinals lineup last year, they would have been nothing short of terrible. Thankfully, that doesn’t seem like it will be a problem for the Cardinals going in to 2017. While observing the teams Red & White Scrimmage, I was pleasantly surprised. One doesn’t usually expect the offense to get into much of a rhythm during a scrimmage as the defense can usually recognize most of the offenses formation and packages. However, veteran Quarterback Carson Palmer looked like a man on a mission, ready to prove all the “so called” experts wrong. On Saturday, Carson looked like he was in the best shape of his life, as he seems to be really benefitting from all his days off. The Cardinals should continue keeping him fresh – if we continue to get the same results from him. Carson’s go-to Wide Receiver on Saturday was none other than old reliable Larry Fitzgerald who made children of men during the Red & White scrimmage. Fitzgerald was in Mid-Season form on Saturday after scoring a handful of Touchdowns and some timely blocks. Arizona Cardinal fans should breathe a sigh of relief knowing that these two captains of the offense seem to have not lost a step in their game.
While I still feel like the Cardinal defense was bested by the offense, there were plenty of positives to take away from the scrimmage. To start with, Pro Bowl Cornerback Patrick Peterson got the ball rolling for the defense with an excellent ball hawking interception that was tipped by defensive back Tyvon Branch. Meanwhile Rookie Linebacker Haason Reddick got into the mix with a few batted down balls and displayed his versatility while rushing the passer. Most importantly Safety Tyrann Mathieu seems to finally be bouncing back from his 2nd ACL tear he suffered back in 2015. Mathieu seemed to be consistently running hard to the ball and making life difficult for opposing receivers all afternoon long. In my opinion Tyranns health was the Cardinals biggest answered question, and many believe he is poised for a bounce back season.
There is no arguing that the Cardinals are a few field goals away from a playoff berth in 2016. Thankfully, the Cardinals addressed that need with 42-year old Kicker Phil Dawson. Not surprisingly, over the course of practice people held their breath every time Phil Dawson’s number was called to drill a field goal. Contrary to last year Dawson drilled every kick and calmed people’s anxieties. After attending the Red & White Scrimmage I am personally feeling very confident about this year’s Special Teams unit.
In the end it was just another day of Arizona Cardinals camp, but this year’s camp did feel a lot different than the previous year. This years Cardinals team is now seeing that their window to compete isn’t closed yet, as long as they stay focused and don’t become to confident in what they have on the field. I am cautiously optimistic that the Arizona Cardinals are going to produce this year, and who knows maybe a Lombardi trophy is coming home to Glendale this year.
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