After being a doormat in the NFL for decades, the Cardinals have put together back-to-back solid seasons that even included a trip to the Super Bowl two years ago.
But the roster turnover between this season and last has been heavy, as playmakers such as Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin, Karlos Dansby, and Antrel Rolle are gone.
As the Cardinals kick off training camp tomorrow in Flagstaff, there are plenty of questions to be answered; check out the four most important ones after the jump.
Can Matt Leinart step up and lead the team back to the playoffs?
This is one of the biggest questions around the entire league. We know we give Leinart a lot of grief for his beer bong/hot tub fiasco. But if we're speaking of his play on the field, he's still unproven, raw. Sure, he's seen some action here and there, but he hasn't played a full 16-game season yet. It will be tough to fill the void left by future Hall of Famer Warner, but as long as he keeps his turnovers down, Leinart and the offense should be fine.
Sometimes it felt as if Arizona didn't even have a running game the past few seasons as Warner seemed to be throwing a hundred passes per game. That probably won't be the case this season, as Wells and Hightower have to produce and take some pressure off Leinart and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Wells is a bruiser who isn't afraid to run over people. Hightower averaged 4.2 yards per carry last season. The success of the offense probably depends on whether the running game is existent.
Which of the rookies will contribute right away?
Our best bet is Daryl Washington, a linebacker from TCU. The loss of Dansby especially depletes this group, meaning Washington might need to step in right away and produce. Rookie defensive tackle Dan Williams also will contribute, but he probably won't be rushed along as quickly as Washington. It seems every good NFL team has at least one rookie who makes big plays. Will the Cards have theirs?
Can Ken Wisenhunt keep his magic going?
Head coach Wisenhunt has seemingly had the magic touch since arriving from the Steelers in 2007, increasing the team's win total each year that he's been around. But he faces his toughest test yet as a coach this year.
Some of the questions will get sorted out at camp. Others will have to wait until the season starts September 12 against the Rams. Our very early prediction: the Cards go 8-8 and miss the postseason.
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