The Arizona Cardinals were dominated by the Carolina Panthers 49-15 in the NFC Championship. The Cardinals looked completely outmatched by the Panthers and were not helped by the poor play of quarterback Carson Palmer. “I kept digging us in a hole we couldn’t get out of. We continued to fight, but it was just too much to overcome.” Palmer said.
Cardinals fans should have a positive outlook for the 2016 season. All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu will return from an ACL injury and if veterans Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald continue to play at a high level there should not be concerns.
Cornerback Jerraud Powers and safety Rashad Johnson will be unrestricted free agents and were key parts of the Cardinals strong secondary. The team must look to try and retain these two players to keep the continuity with their defense.
Head coach Bruce Arians was content with his team’s improvements this season, but realizes the ultimate goal for the Cardinals is to reach and win the Super Bowl next season. “We made that nice step to win the division and get up to that next level to the championship game, and next year, it’s Super Bowl or bust. If you’re not putting a ring on your finger, if that confetti’s not falling on your head, it’s a bad year,” stated Arians.
Leader and defensive tackle Calais Campbell believes the team’s loss will only fuel the team’s fire more for next season. “This whole offseason we’re going to have a bad taste in our mouth. We’re going to have to use it as fuel to help us get better,” stated Campbell.
The Cardinals have tremendous talent on both sides of the football. The Cardinals should follow the same script they used this past season, but must be ready for playoff football next season.