Dating back to the 2015 playoffs, the Arizona Cardinals have won just seven of their last 18 games. They were Super Bowl contenders that season, but they haven’t been since. And they made it abundantly clear in their season-opening loss to the Detroit Lions that they aren’t going anywhere in 2017.
Even before star running back David Johnson suffered a severe wrist injury, the Cards couldn’t move the ball through the air or on the ground. The only reason they weren’t blown out by Detroit is because Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw a pick-six on the first drive of the game and the Lions gave the Cardinals the ball on the 13-yard line after a botched punt later in the first quarter.
Beyond that, the Arizona offense generated just 13 points against a so-so defense. And now that unit will be without Johnson for the most of the season.
It’s a daunting omen of what’s to come, because quarterback Carson Palmer appears to be as good as done anyway. The reality is the 37-year-old was usually saved by his running game, receivers, offensive line and/or defense in years past. Aside from an aberrational MVP-caliber 2015 campaign, he hasn’t actually been good in quite a while. He struggled for most of the 2016 campaign, he missed all but six games in 2014 and threw 22 interceptions the year before that.
Carson Palmer really threw David Johnson into triple coverage and might've cashed his season ? pic.twitter.com/gZYskyG2YC
— Nick Breezus ? (@NickBrownHD) September 11, 2017
This might come as a surprise to some, but Palmer has actually put together just one good season in the last decade. He was never the same after suffering a major knee injury in the 2005 playoffs and has been named to the Pro Bowl just once in his last 11 seasons. Between 2007 and 2014, he consistently ranked in or below the middle of the qualified pack in terms of passer rating.
Throw in Johnson’s injury and you’ve got trouble. But it doesn’t stop there. Remember, the defense suffered some major losses in the offseason. It’s not as strong or as deep as it once was, especially after losing Calais Campbell, Tony Jefferson, D.J. Swearinger, Kevin Minter and Alex Okafor in free agency. While Campbell was setting a Jacksonville Jaguars record with 3.5 sacks for his new team, the Cards surrendered 26 points in the final 19 minutes of Sunday’s game in Detroit.
So the D isn’t particularly good, Johnson and left tackle D.J. Humphries are out and Palmer is again proving that he’s a mediocre starting quarterback.
Things are going to get worse before they get better in Glendale.