Some people are fans of the Arizona Cardinals. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Arizona Cardinals. This 2015 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona: It’s California Without The Good Stuff!™
Your 2014 record: 11-5, but has there ever been a more misleading 11-5 record in football history? After Carson Palmer suffered his inevitable knee injury and Drew Stanton ALSO got hurt, this team became SHIT. Spiritually, they became 3-13. They lost four of their final six regular season games and then bowed out meekly to the 7-8-1 Panthers in the wild card round. They weren’t favored against Carolina, either. That’s how bad their QB situation was. Even the Bengals waged a more memorable playoff campaign.
Your coach: Bruce “Cool Uncle” Arians, whose general air of competence was severely undermined last season when he stuck with Ryan Goddamn Lindley as his quarterback for the stretch run. Here’s the money quote:
“Athletically, he’s one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the league as far as arm strength and accuracy and all those things.”
Sure he is, Coach. DON’T PATRONIZE ME. This team would have been better off playing a human baby at quarterback.
As a football fan, there is nothing that worries me more than when a devastating injury happens and the team affected 1) Makes no personnel move to address the loss, and 2) Loudly proclaims, “WE LIKE THE GUYS WE HAVE!” That is always the first sign of delusion. I don’t like it when my team calmly and voluntarily walks into oblivion because Ryan Lindley is such a swell guy in the film room. I would prefer they loudly panic and bring in an out-of-shape veteran who I can at least identify by name. They wouldn’t even start rookie Logan Thomas in Lindley’s place. Why keep Thomas on the roster if he can’t unseat Lindley? Was he a safety who got mislabeled in the game program or something?
Your quarterback for now: Carson Palmer, who is incapable of having a successful season that does NOT end in some kind of devastating tractor accident. Any time you read about Carson Palmer, you can usually find a teammate saying, “IT SOUNDED LIKE A GUN WENT OFF WHEN IT HAPPENED!”
Anyway, once Palmer walks into a rotating helicopter blade, your backup is a “healthy” Drew Stanton. And once Stanton falls into a garbage compressor, your quarterback is… Logan Thomas! The guy who couldn’t beat out Ryan Lindley. In other words, you are about to experience 2014 all over again. The schedule sets up beautifully for a 4-0 start, followed by multiple ARE THE CARDINALS FOR REAL?! roundtables on NFL Live, followed by all the quarterbacks dying in a plane accident. The schedule ends with the Packers and Seahawks. Arizona will lose those two games by a combined score of 506-8.
By the way, the Cards are trying out an undrafted QB named Phil Sims. Phil Sims! With one M! JEEEEEEEEM.
What’s new that sucks: Hey, there are lots of new linemen and linebackers here! Whatever. Who cares. It won’t make a lick of difference once Palmer’s skull is hollowed out by defenders and used as a spittoon.
By the way, Palmer was in the middle of an uncommonly turnover-free stretch of play when he went down last season. That isn’t happening again. Even if Palmer remains healthy [stifles laughter], there is a 100 percent chance he will revert to throwing five thousand interceptions a year. And they’re always DAMAGING picks. When Drew Brees throws a pick, you’re usually like, “Well, that was pretty much like a punt!” When Carson Palmer throws a pick, it’s a 45-point swing.
Also: Look who’s in a Cardinals uniform now!
YEAHHHHHHHHHHH! Please note that Gus Johnson is no longer accurate in saying that Chris Johnson has running-away-from-the-cops-speed. The cops can get to him quite easily now, especially with a bum hammy. In fact, this is Arizona, so the cops WILL get him. Sheriff Joe will run him down and shoot him in the back. Probably sometime in October. I’m sad already. RIP Chris Johnson. You were fun.
But the biggest news from the Cardinals offseason was the hiring of Jen Welter, who is the first female assistant coach in NFL history. Welter was hired as an intern for just training camp and the preseason. And then, in September, when the regular season arrives, she will be looking for work. The Cardinals confirmed via email that Welter’s job effectively ends two weeks from now:
Jen Welter is one of seven training camp interns on our coaching staff. They are paid positions and they are here for the duration of training camp. It’s actually similar to internships in a lot of other professions; i.e. provide individuals at the front end of their career the ability to gain experience & build relationships over a finite period of time that hopefully lead to additional opportunities in the field after their internship is over. In the case of coaching interns, those opportunities are often at the college level or elsewhere in professional football.
Seems a bit disingenuous for the Cardinals to tout this historic hiring landmark when, in reality, they gave someone a two-month freelancing gig. Hiring someone should include actually HIRING them, man. This was all a ploy to get kudos on Twitter from Thirsty Dick Deitsch! I DON’T BELIEVE IN NOTHIN’ NO MORE.
What has always sucked: Look: these are the Cardinals. They inherently do not matter. They were moved to America’s dumbest state by Bill Bidwill only because he couldn’t get better offers from Memphis and Jacksonville. Their fans are drunken cheeseballs, as evidenced here:
There’s a reason they set that Will Forte show in Arizona, man. This is Florida’s Western affiliate state: an inhospitable swath of land with the same atmosphere as the surface of fucking Mercury. It is populated exclusively by new-age dipshits, bros, bro-ettes, and gun-toting loons who voluntarily live near the border despite actively hating the inevitable and perfectly natural occurrences that tend to happen near a border. It is our dystopia. Arizona is chicken fingers, discount funerals and Sheriff Joe putting together chain gangs and billing them for water. The heat alone will concuss you.
Also: fuck Will Leitch.
What might not suck: Quarterbacks aside, the Cardinals are as deep and talented as any team in football. Just like the Texans. And the Bills. And 50 other teams that were too stupid to shore up the only position in the sport that matters. “Guys! If we build a nice roster without a quarterback, we can fuck ourselves out of high draft picks for YEARS to come!”
Hear it from Cardinals fans!
By the time we get a working quarterback our championship defense will have a median age of 92.
Leitch, Clue Heywood, and Captain Lou:
God, the quarterbacks. Buzzsaw fans have known quarterback pain like you wouldn’t believe —- remember, we had three years where we just went ahead and let the punter play quarterback. But nothing has even been worse than Ryan Lindley. I mean, you saw him in the playoffs, right? How bad must Logan Thomas have been not to be brought in instead of that? (Our guess: He had just developed leprosy.)
Last year’s team was the most fun, badass, eminently likable Arizona Cardinals team any of us can remember … so of course it was all torn apart by the quarterback position, by the actual worst quarterback of them all. The worst part about it is that it’s going to happen again this year. Arians is probably the best coach we’ve ever had, but his major flaw – other than his insane no-stretching thing — is that his (awesome) offense is based around the quarterback holding onto the ball as long as possible, which means his quarterbacks are always getting killed. (Remember, Big Ogre Roethlisberger was constantly hurt when Arians was his coordinator; he only got healthy once Arians left.) Carson Palmer is healthy in camp, but he’s going to get his head knocked off at some point, which means it’ll be Drew Stanton again. Then it will be Logan Thomas. Then it will probably be Tom Tupa. Fucking quarterbacks.
*** How desperate are we for a halfway decent quarterback? Here’s something someone actually did to the back of their truck.
*** The Cardinals suck because deep down 90 percent of our fans are really fans of other teams. Like at the 2009 NFC Championship game when some “hardcore” Cardinals fans who sat near us for years showed up with Eagles jerseys on, or the scene from last year in the photo below. (We were playing the 49ers.) Sure, Arizona is a rapidly growing, transient state, but there just doesn’t seem to be that dumb loyalty that Browns or Bills fans have. We’re always a couple 5-11 seasons away from the stadium being a ghost town again. Maybe we’re just bitter. We’re fans (well, one of us is) who have had season tickets in Arizona since 1988, who suffered countless ass burns and heat stroke on the metal bleachers of Sun Devil Stadium watching the Cardinals lose to the Falcons by 20. Maybe we don’t know how to deal with the team’s sudden success and popularity. But we kind of hate our fans. You probably do too.
*** The remainder of our grievances will come in ellipses form. Michael Bidwill has put himself forward as the “cool” son, but he’s still an evil Bidwill who will fuck up everything if given the chance … our cheerleaders uniforms have a checkered trim that makes them look like ring girls at a UFC fight at Indianapolis motor speedway … everything about Daryl Washington … the only good quarterback we’ve ever had, the one who took us to the only Super Bowl we’ll probably ever see, spent the offseason tutoring Colin fucking Kaepernick … there are more trees on this shirt than in this town … we repeat this every year, but seriously, Glendale is the worst: We feel sorry for visiting teams’ fans who say “yeah we’re gonna go see the [team] play the Cardinals and party in Glendale!” then they inevitably end up at an Applebee’s with a bunch of tweakers.
*** We are experiencing the absolute peak of the Arizona Cardinals: This is without question the most successful two-to-three year stretch in the history of the franchise. Which, considering it has led to an 0-1 playoff record, is too depressing to even contemplate. But that’s Arizona Cardinals luck: They have their best run ever, and it’s during the exact time that a division rival has a pseudo-dynasty going on. This is as good as it’s going to get, which is a horrible thing to think when Logan Thomas is throwing for five interceptions in Week 17 in the team’s three straight loss, dropping them to 10-6 and out of the playoffs. Maybe we should bring back Max Hall.
The single oldest continual football franchise in the NFL and we have 0 superbowl wins. Fuck Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes and every Cardinals defender who stood and watched the ball sail over their heads. PUSH HIM OUT OF BOUNDS FOR FUCKS SAKE!
I hope someday I can make a billion or two dollars and buy this team away from the Bidwells and move it back to St. Louis and then all will be right with the world. I know you have a pathological hatred of St. Louis and its fans but we put up with this guy for over three decades. He drafted a kicker in the first round. And a QB named Kelly Stouffer. We should get some love for not self-immolating after that. I mean the Jets fans lose their collective shit when their team drafts a legitimate prospect.
I’m a big Cardinals fan who has lived on the east coast for nearly 20 years. I have family in AZ still so I go out for games often enough. Halloween weekend a few years ago I flew out for a game against the Bucs. Derek Anderson vs Josh Freeman, feel the excitement.
I drank heavily on Friday and Saturday nights and we got to the stadium early on Sunday, where we started drinking and grilling food. About 90 minutes before the game I got that feeling in my gut that 2.5 days of heavy drinking and crappy food was about to come to a head. I waddled to the nearest bank of port o johns, and there was hardly a line. I got inside, got as comfortable as I could and proceeded to shit my brains out. It was about 95 outside and I was sweating profusely in the port o john trying to get rid of all the poisons on my stomach. About 15 minutes go by (an eternity in a port o john) and I finish up and exit the port o john to a massive crowd and line about 50 people deep. Of course the next person in line was an attractive women.
Dripping in sweat, I told her to wait for the next one and got my ass out of there to raucous laughter.
The Cardinals lost that game on a game losing Anderception in the red zone with about a minute to go and that night I denied candy to every single kid dressed as a pirate during trick or treat.
The best player in Cardinals history is known for being a great role model because everyone seems to have forgotten how he allegedly beat the living hell out of his girlfriend
Our stadium is filled with Niner fans even when we lose to the Seahawks 35-6
Also, our stadium is out in the middle of fucking nowhere and 50% of these fans will drive home drunk to avoid paying $250 for a 40 mile uber ride
The majority of Scottsdale residents resemble sweaty pumpkins
The combination of Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley started 10 games last year. It was our best regular season in 40 years.
Our coach doesn’t believe in stretching before games.
Darnell Dockett - ACL tear
Punter - groin injury
Palmer - ACL tear
LB Shaughnessy - Knee & Shoulder injuries
Mathieu - shitty knee
Calais Campbell - sprined MCL
Fitzgerald - sprained ACL
Ellington - hernia
Staton - knee sprain
Daryl Washington - drugs and domestic violence
Am I saying that not stretching caused that last one?
No, but I’m not saying it didn’t.
I am in Arizona. I have never been here in August before. I can’t believe everything here isn’t dead.
There are no real Cardinals fans, outside of a handful of diehards who remember what it was like to get sunburned at Sun Devil Stadium while Dollar Bill Bidwill’s retirement club tried to pass themselves off as a real football team. Most people in University of Phoenix stadium on Sundays just moved to Arizona and are only watching the Cardinals until their “home” team or “first” team plays. Watching a game at University of Phoenix stadium is a lot like attending University of Phoenix – you spend a ton of money on a complete waste of time, and when you tell people what you did they all laugh at you.
Despite being led by a well-respected offensive coach we have yet to develop any offensive identity or running game, and our team was only in contention last year due to a defense that somehow managed to be relevant despite a linebacking corps composed almost entirely of straw men.
The city of Glendale believes it deserves the same respect as the city of Scottsdale. All Glendale deserves is to be carpet bombed out of existence. If this actually happened, the crime rate in the state of Arizona would drop by 60%. If it was during a Cardinals home game, 75%.
I went to San Diego State and root for the Cardinals, which means Ryan Lindley has somehow managed to bring shame on the last 7 years of my life.
Submissions for the 2015 NFL previews are now closed. Next up: the Carolina Panthers.