5 Reasons Why the Arizona Cardinals Will Rebound from a Losing Record in 2012
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The Arizona Cardinals' 2012 season was one for the record books but in all the wrong ways. They opened with four straight wins for the first time in the franchise's time in Arizona. Then they became the first NFL team to drop nine consecutive games after a 4-0 start and ensured a losing record.
When the roller coaster season ends in a couple weeks, the Cardinals will still have some hope to rebound from this year's record.
Start the slideshow and find out the five reasons why the Cardinals will rebound from their losing record.
There Will Be Clarity at Quarterback
Will Kevin Kolb (center) be back for the Cardinals in 2013?
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The worst-kept secret in football is that the Arizona Cardinals have a lot of question marks when it comes to the quarterback position.
Since 2009, Arizona has had seven different starting quarterbacks. Between Kurt Warner, Matt Leinart, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley, Max Hall and Derek Anderson, none of them have been able to stay on the job for more than a whole season. Skelton has more starts than Kolb by a 16-14 margin while Anderson has nine and no other quarterback has more than three.
It's hard to be consistent from year to year when there is so much flux at the quarterback position.
But how does Arizona find that clarity?
For starters, Kevin Kolb may not stick around past this season, according to Arizonasports.com. Kolb is due for some serious money in 2013 and the team may not be willing to pay it next season for a quarterback that has missed more than half of the team's games the last two seasons. Kolb is scheduled to make $9 million next season and pick up a $2 million roster bonus in March.
The Cardinals have yet to tip their hand about what they will do with Skelton or Lindley once the season ends and it's just a waiting game as of now for both of them.
Regardless of whether it's Skelton or Lindley or a free agent or a draft pick, Arizona should hopefully be able to make that decision earlier in the season. At least if Arizona does that, the team will have time to get behind one definite starter and be ready to game-plan to his strengths.
The Team Will Have Another High-End First-Round Draft Pick
Arizona took Michael Floyd in the first round in the 2012 Draft.
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Over the last decade, the Cardinals have a history of getting high draft picks in the first round. Out of those 10 years, Arizona has been in the top 10 of the draft five times.
Through the results of Week 15, the Cardinals would hold the 11th pick in the first round and sit with half a dozen other teams at 5-9. Those teams are currently occupying the sixth through 11th spots.
Kansas City and Jacksonville are both 2-12 and running neck and neck for the No. 1 overall spot. With some of the lower teams springing upsets, Arizona could move all the way up into the top five if the Cardinals lose out. Arizona could also be a target for other teams trying to move up in the draft and deals may be made that benefit the Cardinals.
The Cardinals should be able to address one of the team's major needs in the first round this year. Of course the bigger question is which need is the one to address in the first round and that answer remains to be seen.
There Is Likely to Be Changes in the Coaching Staff
Will Ken Whisenhunt be back for a seventh season in 2013?
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As a result of the Cardinals' nine-game slide into the NFL abyss, the seat that Ken Whisenhunt sits on has been getting toasty to say the least. A losing streak of that length is usually enough to get a coach the pink slip after the final regular season game.
Last season, Tampa Bay started 4-2 and dropped 10 in a row to close the season. That was enough to cost Raheem Morris his job and led to the start of the Greg Schiano era in Tampa. With the Cardinals' performance this season, could Whisenhunt be a victim of the coaching carousel on Black Monday?
It seems like forever ago when Whisenhunt coached the team to the NFC Championship and a Super Bowl appearance opposite Pittsburgh. He might be another victim of the Cardinals coaching carousel in which no coach has lasted beyond his sixth season with the team.
Even if Whisenhunt isn't given the axe, it's certainly possible where other coaches especially on the offensive side of the ball might find themselves without a job past the first week of January.
It's still a little early to say which coaches, if any, might be released but the prospect is there. Perhaps a little house cleaning will help the Cardinals get back to being a winning team.
The Team Will Be Aggressive in Free Agency
Welker (center) is going to be a free agent. Could Arizona make a run at him?
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Peyton Manning was the free-agent prize of the last offseason and people had to be surprised Arizona was in the running for one of the best signal-callers in the game. Manning picked Denver but the Cardinals made it known they are willing to go after free agents.
The 2013 offseason won't have a big-name quarterback for the Cardinals to pursue but quarterbacks like Joe Flacco and Mike Vick could be out there for Arizona to make a run at.
The picture looks a little better at running back with Reggie Bush, Shonn Greene and Steven Jackson being able to test the waters on the open market in the offseason.
The class of 2013 in free agency is clearly the wide receiver position. Guys like Greg Jennings, Dwayne Bowe, Victor Cruz and Wes Welker all stand to hit free agency and Arizona could try to upgrade its receiving corps. Even a tight end like Tony Gonzalez could hit the market this offseason.
The team has needs all over the board on offense. The players are out there but how big of a splash will Arizona make in the offseason?
The Schedule Could Get Easier
Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jaguars will take on the Cardinals in 2013.
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Next year's schedule sets itself up to be favorable for Arizona. In addition to the usual suspects in the NFC West, Arizona will get to lock horns with the NFC South in 2013.
Atlanta is the class of the NFC South at 12-2 but the three other teams will be lucky to hit .500 this season. New Orleans and Tampa Bay sit at 6-8 right now while Carolina is 5-9. Arizona was able to go toe-to-toe with the Falcons this season and nearly pull the upset in the Georgia Dome.
The Cardinals will also get to tangle with the AFC South in cross-conference play. Yes, it means contests with Houston and Indianapolis but Arizona also gets to tangle with Tennessee (5-9) and one of the weaker teams in the league in Jacksonville (2-12). The opponents are known but the schedule itself will not be released until sometime in April.
On paper, it sets Arizona up for a better season in 2013. The Cardinals have a realistic shot to get to 8-8 or better depending on how well they fare against a strong NFC West.