The Cardinals are coming into 2009 with a Super Bowl loss and aroster with more additions than subtractions.
That said, they will not be in contention this coming year because of the Super Bowl Losers Curse.
The first sign of a terrible year is when a star player goes down. Tom Brady was in his first game in the 2008 season when he tore his ACL. When you are less than one quarter into the season and lose your star quarterback, you might have a problem.
The second sign of a terrible year is a player-to-coach disagreement, like the one between Anquan Boldin and Ken Whisenhunt last season. If this is to be an ongoing problem in 2009, the Cardinals will suffer. Does anybody remember T.O. in San Francico, Philadelphia, Dallas, and soon Buffalo. A problem like that would murder the Cardinals.
The final sign of a terrible season is the when defense struggles, which also happened last season. The key to winning a championship is a good defense. If this team has no defense, they will literally be dead birds on the side of the road.
If any of those happen this year, say hello to a new NFC West champion.