NFL PREVIEWS: Arizona Cardinals

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David Moore

David Moore has been the senior football writer for FOX Sports since Aug. 2005. He appears weekly on the FSN Baseball Report and MLB on FOX. One more line lorem ipsum dolor sit amet e pluribus unum.



Champs or chumps: Do you really have to ask? Arizona has had a winning record just once in its 15 years in the desert. One also happens to be the number of playoff victories this franchise has savored in the last 55 years. The owner (Bill Bidwill) is out of touch, the defense is undersized and the offense lacks skill players who can break open a game. Throw this team in the same division as St. Louis, San Francisco and Seattle, and the don¿t even register on the competitive radar. The only time Arizona counts itself among the top six or seven franchises in the league is on draft day. Reasons for hope: Dave McGinnis. The head coach is arguably the only dynamic part of this organization. McGinnis is an open, engaging individual who is forceful with his team in private and supportive in public. The players respect his approach and respond; the problem is that Arizona doesn¿t have enough good players for that response to wind up in the win column. It would be interesting to see what McGinnis could do with a talented roster. Since he doesn¿t have one, he¿ll simply have to continue to build and see if he can get the in the neighborhood of .500.
Meet the 2003
Projected offensive lineup

Projected defensive lineup
CB David Barnett

Projected special teams lineup

Scout's take on the Cardinals
"Dave McGinnis is a great leader and an excellent communicator. He knows how to motivate players and sees the big picture. Bill Bidwell will make a huge mistake if he cuts the cord too soon with McGinnis."
— Scouting insider Brian DeLucia

More on the
  • Cardinals team page
  • Roster | Depth chart
  • Schedule | NFL on FOX schedule
  • NFL fantasy news
  • Don¿t get too excited: The don¿t reap the benefits of a good secondary because their run defense stinks (No. 30) and they generate no pass rush. Defensive end led the team in sacks last season with 3.5 -- that is not a misprint -- and the club total of 21 ranked last in the league. On the other side of the ball, Arizona doesn't capitalize on a good, young offensive line because it has no proven receivers -- the team let its top three wideouts leave in free agency -- allowing defenses to crowd the line and stop the run. Hello, my name is: Quarterback . Running back has received virtually all of the attention since the lured him to the desert for one last run, but Blake is the off-season acquisition who will have the biggest say in whether or not the offense is successful. Blake isn¿t as exciting to watch as , but he isn¿t as maddening, either. He won¿t make as many mistakes as Plummer and he plays with a chip on his shoulder pads, believing he hasn¿t gotten the credit he¿s deserved in recent years. Blake, 32, isn¿t the team¿s quarterback of the future, but he¿s not a bad alternative to have until that player shows his face. Revolving door: It¿s not unusual that a bad team allows veteran free agents to walk on both sides of the ball. It is unusual that a bad team has no problems with its best players leaving. Plummer and , one of the league¿s top young receivers, were allowed to leave without the getting anything in return. Safety Kwame Lassiter and receivers and also left for greener pastures. Blake takes over for Plummer. , , and first-round pick will try to compensate for what Arizona lost at receiver. , the Super Bowl MVP, steps in for Lassiter. Smith, meanwhile, was signed to give the franchise a jolt of credibility and lead this young, aimless team by example. Ones to watch: There might be only one: Arizona at Dallas on Oct. 5. Smith¿s return to Texas Stadium, especially after his comments about being a diamond surrounded by trash in his final year with the , will stir emotions. Part of what has set Smith apart from his peers is an uncanny ability to come up big when the heat is on. It would be a surprise if he isn¿t close to or breaks the 100-yard barrier in this game. The forecast: The will be competitive. That doesn¿t mean they¿ll be good. One of the league¿s easiest schedules will prop Arizona up a bit, but this team still finishes in the basement of the NFC West. If five or six wins is all McGinnis can squeeze out of this talent-challenged team, he may not be around to suffer next season.
    Tagged: Falcons, Broncos, Ravens, Cardinals, Chargers, Kevin Kasper, James Hodgins, Jeff Blake, Anthony Clement, Ronald McKinnon, L.J. Shelton, Ray Thompson, Leonard Davis, Adrian Wilson, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Levar Fisher, Wendell Bryant, Nathan Hodel, Damien Anderson, Bryant Johnson

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