Arizona Cardinals: Players Who Need to Step Up in 2013

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Arizona Cardinals: Players Who Need to Step Up in 2013
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals' training camp is a little over a week away, and there is a lot of excitement in the state about this team and its prospects for a successful year. The front office has made some significant changes this offseason that have Cardinals fans buzzing.

It all started with the brilliant hire of Bruce Arians, the 2012 NFL Coach of the Year, as Arizona's new head coach. His presence will bring the focus on offense this franchise has been missing for the past three seasons.

The offload of the overpaid and brittle Kevin Kolb paired with the acquisition of the proven Carson Palmer was an immediate upgrade at quarterback. Although a little past his prime, Palmer is still capable enough to make all of the throws necessary to stretch the field.

Cardinals brass also knocked it out of the park in this year's NFL draft, picking up Jonathan Cooper, instantly upgrading the offensive line with this day-one starter. They followed it up with linebacker Kevin Minter and defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, two more stud defensive players who should make immediate impacts on the defensive side of the ball.

Although the team has made some very positive changes that will definitely improve their performance, there are a few key players who will need to step up this season if Arizona hopes to compete with the tough NFC West and secure a playoff spot.

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