Arizona Cardinals 2012 Schedule
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With defensive coordinator Ray Horton coming over from Pittsburgh, the potential for a solid defense seemed to make sense, but that wasn’t the case early in the year. Week one some rookie named Cam Newton torched the Cardinals for over 400 yards passing, and that was just the beginning of their problems, as slow safeties and an inexperienced corner in Patrick Peterson struggled.
In the second half of the year, Horton finally got his boys playing some good defense, and perhaps this was a group effected from the lockout. The front seven played well and the emergence of Sam Acho gives them another promising young player to use. The most impressive and important part of the Cardinals defensive improvement had to be the play of Peterson as he was trusted by the coaching staff to be left alone in man coverage, frequently.
Back To The Playoffs?
Assuming Peterson can continue to build on his second half, the Cardinals will have the luxury of rolling coverage to other parts of the field. Not the most talented secondary in the league outside of Peterson, his production and health will play an important role in deciding if Arizona can return to the playoffs after failing to get there since Kurt Warner retired.
Speaking of Warner, the Cardinals also need to have consistent play from the quarterback position, and it will be interesting to see if Kevin Kolb can hold off John Skelton. My money is on Skelton, unless Kolb can start to look comfortable in the pocket, and I’m not going to let him off the hook because his pass protection is sub-par.
If Skelton can stand in and fire the football with pressure coming at him, so should Kolb be able to do so. If he can’t, expect Skelton to hold onto the job this year.
Whether it’s Skelton or Kolb, neither of these quarterbacks is going to be a player you want to build the offense though, so with that in mind, a healthy return of Ryan Williams is going important, as the ground game needs to be consistent. For whatever the reason, Beanie Wells just doesn’t seem to have it in him to be a sixteen-week feature back, and while I don’t expect Williams to return to his previous form, he needs to give this team valuable touches, when in the game.