Carson Palmer on Cardinals: 'We are pretty good'

Carson Palmer on Cardinals: 'We are pretty good'

Posted: Sep. 5, 2016 8:00 am Updated: Sep.

The Arizona Cardinals exceeded most people's expectations in 2015 by reaching the NFC Champuonship game.

"Everybody truly believes that we can be champions", defensive tackle Calais Campbell said.

"That is in fact where I started my career, but every game here is a big game", he said.

All that matters in the end, they said, is the Super Bowl, and after getting so close to it a year ago, it's what consumes them.

The 36-year-old quarterback will be at the controls of a high-octane Arizona Cardinals offense that returns every player who gained a yard for the team last season.

That quote is typical of the mindset of the Arizona Cardinals' charismatic head coach, it is all or nothing, which just so happened to be the title of a documentary series that followed the rollercoaster that was their 2015 season.

The Cardinals are perfectly positioned to be NFC powerhouses again and replicate last season's 13-3 record, but it is Palmer and his ability to put last season's nightmare finish behind him that will ultimately determine whether the confetti is falling on them at Super Bowl LI in Houston.

Here are some things to look for before the Cardinals open their season Sunday night at home against the Patriots. "He has the length and the skillset to rush the passer".

ESPN unveiled their Super Bowl picks and the Arizona Cardinals are heavily represented.

Jones had a career-high 12 1-2 sacks for the Patriots last season, earning his first appearance in the Pro Bowl.

Turns out, as evidenced by how the Patriots used him for the last four years, he's more than that. Patrick Peterson is the best cornerback in the National Football League, if not he's one of them. Offensively, Carson Palmer is as consistent as quarterbacks come when healthy, and receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd provide reliable targets on the outside.

Safety Tyrann Mathieu is expected to be ready for Week 1, his late season injury hampered them previous year, but if he is and can remain healthy for the entire 2016 campaign, along with Patrick Peterson at the corner position, the Cardinals will be a tough nut to crack downfield. Free agent signee Mike Jenkins had a chance to win the job but broke a bone in his hand in training camp, then went down with a season-ending knee injury.

"It's just exciting, knowing week in and week out, that if you go out and execute and play your best, you can beat anybody", Palmer said.

Arizona added some veteran depth at the position by acquiring Marcus Cooper from Kanas City last week.

Growing from within... David Johnson was truly impressive in the second half of his rookie campaign. He supplanted Chris Johnson (no relation) as the team's starter and has all the tools to be a top-five running back this year.

"I can't thank him enough", Brown said. "I feel like I'm ready to take on the load". Defensive coordinator James Boettcher said his do-everything All-Pro defensive back is "where he left off a year ago". "I've got a good group of guys around me and I'm just really working with them building camaraderie, continuing to improve as a player and working as a team".

He will wear a brace, but a much smaller one than he did after his first surgery.

Mathieu is the fiery heart of the defense, not just for his playing ability but for his emotional "edge" that rubs off on teammates.

"Oh, I'm extremely confident", Arians said after finishing the preseason 1-3.

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