Cardinals midseason report card
TEMPE, Ariz. — Well, well, well. Who saw this coming?
Halfway through the NFL season, the injury-depleted Arizona Cardinals have the best record in the NFL and, by virtue of wins over Philadelphia and Dallas, a two-game lead over everyone in the NFC except Detroit.
Six of the seven players the Cardinals thought would be starting on their defensive front are either gone (Karlos Dansby in free agency), suspended (Daryl Washington), out for the season with injuries (Darnell Dockett, ACL; John Abraham, concussion), or will miss significant time with injuries (Calais Campbell, two games; Matt Shaughnessy, eight games).
Their starting quarterback, Carson Palmer, missed three games with a shoulder injury; their starting running back, Andre Ellington, has played with a foot injury all season; even punter Dave Zastudil is out for the year with a groin injury.
How did coach Bruce Arians react to reaching the season’s midpoint with the league’s best mark in the face of such adversity?
"Having been 1-7 before 7-1, it feels a lot better," he said.
It feels a lot better when handing out grades, too — although we’re not prepared to hand out an ‘A’ quite as easily as Arians or Harvard University.
Overall offensive grade: B
Overall defensive grade: B+
Overall team grade: A-