On-Line NFL Pool
NFL Fight Songs
"The Cardinal" Bio
The Playoff Race
I'D RATHER BE IN PHILADELPHIA
- - - - - It is said that comedian WC Fields wanted that epitaph on his tombstone. It is on that sepulchral tone that the Cardinals 2013 season comes to an end. Despite earning their most regular-season wins since 1975, the Cardinals fell short of the playoffs and a trip to Philadelphia.
- - - - - By the time the regular-season finale was decided on the final play, the Cardinals already knew of their fate. With Tampa Bay unable to keep pace with the Saints in the Superdome, the final playoff spot had been claimed before San Francisco's game-winning field goal crossed the uprights in Arizona. While we could look back on a few missed opportunities on the road this season (St. Louis, San Francisco, Philadelphia), the only single result we could overturn and find ourselves in the post-season was the blowout loss in New Orleans.
- - - - - The Cardinals have, by far, the best record among teams left out of the playoffs; the closest teams all have 8-8 records. There are also two teams in the playoffs with worse records, San Diego at 9-7 with an AFC wildcard spot and Green Bay at 8-7-1 with the NFC North division title. What does this mean for the Cardinals going forward into 2014? Hopefully, we won't suffer the consequences of success (losing free agents and assistant coaches) without anything to show for it.
- - - - - On the bright side, there isn't an obvious first-round need on whom to spend our 20th pick. The biggest potential shoes to fill would be those of ILB Dansby if he wishes to trade success for dollars once again. Minter could be a long-term solution should he leave, although his skills remain a large unknown. At the OLB position, we anticipate the return of Acho, while Alexander's future participation with the team remains less critical with the emergence of Abraham, the serviceability of Shaughnessy (and Rucker, depending on where you line him up), and the return of Okafor.
- - - - - The biggest question on offense has always been the play of the offensive line, specifically at left tackle. However, with the departure of Levi Brown and the addition of Bradley Sowell, the unit held up admirably as the season dragged on. Sure, the left side was buttressed by the frequent halfback chip, but we have the expected upgrade coming back with LG Cooper's return from a season-ending injury. This likely drops Fanaika back into the reserve pool with Massie, Potter, Gibson, and Watford. There are options here, and whether this requires a high draft choice remains to be seen. At tight end, the consistency provided by Ballard and Dray have made people like Sperry, King, and even the streaky Housler more expendable.
- - - - - And finally, at quarterback, I must admit that I am pleased with the progress made by Carson Palmer, although his mind-numbing mistakes have dug fairy deep holes even in late-season contests. He has remained healthy enough, though, as to prevent us from seeing what Stanton (or Lindley) could do in real-game action. . . not that it's bad thing, just that we'll have to take the coaches' word on whether we think we have the quarterback of the future on this roster, or if we need to find one in the draft.
NEXT WEEK, 2014 SEASON: We have the list of 2014 opponents, with home games against San Diego, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Washington, and Detroit and road contests at Denver, Oakland, NY Giants, Dallas, and Atlanta. These are of course in addition to our division opponents. Once again, we can thank the NFL for sending us the Lions.
EIGHTEENTH SEASON UNDERWAY
- - - - - As you've probably already noticed, "The Cardinal's" Nest, the Internet's longest-running website dedicated to the Arizona Cardinals, has
undergone a few changes over the years as we embark on our 18th season. This newer setup will hopefully make it easier for you, the fans, to navigate
these pages. After all, isn't life already hard enough being a Cardinals fan?
- - - - - The bar at the left will contain the links to the other pages on this site, including icons for some of the larger features.
Meanwhile, play in my Eighteenth-annual On-Line NFL Pool has begun and the Chicago Cardinals Photo
Album, featuring photos and other game memorabilia from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s has opened. Also, check out the
"Arizona Sports Fans" Message Board. As always, if you have any
suggestions, comments, or questions, please feel free to send me E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org;
I always enjoy hearing from Cardinals fans around the country and the world.