The Green Bay Packers go up against the Arizona Cardinals tomorrow night in both team’s preseason opener – as head coaches Bruce Arians and Mike McCarthy prepare as best they can around the injuries both teams have seen.
While teams coaches always say they want to win any game where they field a team, this first preseason outing is more an audition than it is a game.
That said, we took a few minutes to get responses to our questions about the Cardinals and where they stand at this point in the young season from Scott Allen, the editor of Raising Zona, the Fansided.com Cardinals Blog site.
Here is our exchange:
• The Cardinals had one of the worst offensive lines, if not THE worst, in the league last season. Of course, they can only get better, but what changes have been made to help them improve?
They went out and drafted a stud in Jonathan Cooper at guard and signed free-agent Eric Winston a couple of weeks ago. They also get back Levi Brown, who played very well the second half of 2011 before missing all of 2012 with an injury. They have depth now. Last year’s rookie Bobby Massie, whom many are high on, is a backup. They will be better this year.
• Give us your early impressions of head coach Bruce Arians?
He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy. He knows what he wants. I’m not saying former coach Ken Whisenhunt didn’t but if he did, he kept it to himself. He beat around the bush a lot. Arians tells it as it is. I like the offense Arians brings. I was a bit skeptical about him letting Ray Horton go on defense but bringing in Todd Bowles as his defensive coordinator was a great move it seems. Of course we have to see how it plays out but I like what Arians has brought to the table so far.
• Former Packers guard Daryn Colledge is injured. Is he in jeopardy of losing his job?
Plain and simple – yes. Unfortunately he is now part of a line, like I said, that has some depth to it. Personally I’d hate to see him go as I like the guy. However, he may become a victim of the numbers game in the end.
• What’s the best position battle taking place in camp over the first couple of weeks?
From an offensive standpoint, no doubt it is at wide receiver and running back. There are a number of guys who have surprised and may actually make this team. Guys like wide receivers Charles Hawkins from Southern or Dan Buckner from Arizona. The Cards also may have six guys in camp that could make the roster at running back. Looks like right now 2011 first-rounder Ryan Williams is on the bubble. Unfortunately his injuries may cost him his job as well. The Cards have two stud running backs they drafted in Stepfan Taylor from Stanford and Andre Ellington from Clemson.
• Do you feel that Carson Palmer is finally the answer at quarterback?
He is the answer in 2013 and probably 2014 and maybe 2015, I can tell you that much. People think Palmer is like 38-39 and on his last leg. Sure, this is his 11th year. He’s only 33. That’s four years younger than what Kurt Warner was when he took the Cards to the Super Bowl. There wasn’t a better answer this year either in free agency or the draft. He is a heck of a lot better than what the Cards have had the past three seasons, so I’ll take it.
• Any other insights you want to add?
Cards won’t be as bad as many think they’ll be. People forget they started 4-0 last season and only took a dump because they had no quarterback to move the offense. They have that now. I’m not saying they are 12-13 wins good, no way. However, I do think they will win 8-9 with the roster they have now. If they do that, in a tough NFC West, it’s a great start to a great future in Arizona.