Arizona Cardinals Capsule
ARIZONA CARDINALS (13-3)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, Glendale, Arizona
LAST YEAR: Cardinals soared to second-best record in NFC, setting multitude of franchise records, including points (489), touchdowns (59) and total yards (6,533). Their 408.5 yards per game led NFL. Carson Palmer, who turned 36 in December, had his best season, breaking franchise marks in yards passing (4,671), touchdown passes (35) and quarterback rating (104.6). Larry Fitzgerald caught 109 passes, breaking franchise record he set decade earlier. Fitzgerald's spectacular 75-yard run and TD catch of Palmer's shovel pace pulled out overtime victory over Green Bay in divisional playoffs. But it all came to crashing end with 49-16 drubbing at Carolina in NFC championship game. Palmer and just about every other player had worst game of season.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: OLB Chandler Jones, G Evan Mathis, DL Robert Nkemdiche, CB Tyvon Branch, C Evan Boehm.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: S Rashad Johnson, CB Jerraud Powers, OLB Dwight Freeney, C Lyle Sendlein, G Ted Larsen.
CAMP NEEDS: New center, and there's competition with veteran A.Q. Shipley trying to hold off rookie Evan Boehm. Coaches will keep close eye on right tackle D.J. Humphries. Arizona's first-round draft pick in 2015 didn't suit up last season, but coaches feel he's ready for starting role. New right guard Mathis is being counted on to help youngster. Free agent Branch will battle incumbent Justin Bethel at cornerback. And if Tyrann Mathieu isn't back from knee surgery by opener, several players will compete for safety spots. But everywhere else, Cardinals seem set, so camp will be used to get ready for another Super Bowl run.
EXPECTATIONS: Cardinals have placed expectations as high as they can get. Anything but winning Super Bowl will be disappointment. Blowout loss in NFC championship game is serving as motivation. Coach Bruce Arians told team last season that goal was Super Bowl and know he will emphasize it, in his colorful way, as much or more this year after Arizona addressed some weaknesses in offseason, particularly in trade for Jones.
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