2-3, 4th NFC West
When Will Josh Rosen Start? - Arizona Cardinals went and traded up to draft Josh Rosen, who is a rookie product out of UCLA. Arizona also went out and signed Sam Bradford to a two-year deal potentially worth 40 million. You certainly don’t pay that kind of cash for a backup quarterback. Rosen is the long term plan in Arizona, but Bradford will likely start in the first half of the season. Arizona isn’t expected to win many games, and Bradford’s injury concerns both could chalk up an early starting opportunity. Arizona has a Week 9 bye week, which is generally when struggling teams turn the ball over to a younger option.
Who Steps Up In The Receiving Game? - Losing both John and Jaron Brown in the receiving game this offseason, it has left a gap in production. Arizona has failed to really develop a consistent wide receiver two over the last four-five seasons. The early season favorite is Christian Kirk, who was drafted out of Texas A&M. Arizona is certainly looking long term with the Josh Rosen and Kirk connection. Of course Larry Fitzgerald is the main producer, and David Johnson will see time in the passing game. Brice Butler and Christian Kirk will likely battle it out for the number two role in the desert.
First Year Under Steve Wilks - After a few seasons under Bruce Arians, Steve Wilks is now the head coach. It was somewhat of a surprise given Wilks has mainly just been a secondary coach for his professional career. He spent some small time in Carolina as a defensive coordinator, which could help get Arizona back in the right direction defensively. Wilks is looking to play smash mouth football, and after a more creative pass happy style under Arians, Wilks is ready to change things to a heavy ground approach. This will give Johnson a heavy workload, as if that wasn’t going to be the plan already.
Offensive Line Troubles - Offensive line is a major question mark in Arizona these days, and injuries have already dropped them down. A.Q. Shipley is out for the season, and D.J. Humphries has been battling MCL issues. Ranking inside the bottom ten as an offensive line, this is not news you want to hear if you are a David Johnson owner. This is an overlooked part of Johnson’s outcome, and the same goes for Sam Bradford’s injury history. The Cardinals are in some real trouble, and moving forward this is an area in need of a rebuild. It will likely have to wait until next year to start.
Tough Schedule Ahead - The Cardinals have one of the toughest schedules in football this season, already having to face the Rams twice, they get an improved 49ers team that won’t be an easy win. The also face the NFC North, which is one of the strongest divisions in football. Going on the road to Kansas City, Minnesota, Green Bay, and Atlanta are likely four losses on the horizon. They also face the Chargers on the road, which is a sleeper team in the AFC. The Cardinals are headed for a sub .500 season, and this year is going to be about getting younger players playing time.