The 2010 season is over, and it is time to start looking toward every teams' needs for the 2011 season.
The Arizona Cardinals finished in last place in the NFC West with a 5-11 record after winning the NFC Championship just two years ago. Now, the Cardinals run the risk of falling back into obscurity. What positions do the Cardinals need to upgrade to prevent that from happening?
Read on to find out.
Arizona Cardinals' Quarterback Derek Anderson
Quarterbacks currently on the roster: Derek Anderson, Max Hall, John Skelton, Richard Bartell
The quarterback position has been the biggest question mark on this team ever since Kurt Warner retired. The Cardinals gave the starting job to former Browns starter Derek Anderson, who was absolutely terrible. Rookie quarterbacks Max Hall and John Skelton collectively started seven games as well and weren't much better than Anderson was.
In all, the Cardinals ranked 31st in the league in passing yards per game, 31st in the league in yards per pass attempt, and 31st in the league in passer rating.
As for possible upgrades, a trade for Donovan McNabb or Kevin Kolb might happen. McNabb has an offseason home in Chandler, Arizona, and might enjoy being closer to home. If the Cardinals can't get either player, drafting a quarterback early is an absolute necessity.
Tight ends currently on the roster: Jim Dray, Ben Patrick, Stephen Spach
The Cardinals got almost no production from their tight ends in 2010. The three tight ends on the roster combined for 25 receptions, 210 yards, and no touchdowns. Keep in mind that those are the combined numbers for all three tight ends.
Larry Fitzgerald is one of the elite receivers in the game and Steve Breaston is a good number two receiver, but they can't carry the passing games by themselves. Having at least respectable production from the tight end position would take some of the extra coverage off of Fitzgerald and Breaston and help the entire passing game.
This isn't as big of a need as the quarterback position, but would still greatly help the cause.
Offensive linemen currently on the roster: Levi Brown, Jeremy Bridges, Brandon Keith, Alan Faneca, Deuce Lutui, D'Anthony Batiste, Rex Hadnot, Ben Claxton, Lyle Sendlein
The Cardinals' offensive line gave up 50 sacks this past year. While some of that responsibilty goes on the quarterback to get rid of the ball faster, the offensive line could also use an upgrade. Left tackle Levi Brown is a solid player, but Alan Faneca is getting older, and the entire right side of the line could use an upgrade.
Getting a quarterback that can get rid of the ball faster will cut down on some of those sack numbers, but the Cardinals should look into drafting multiple offensive linemen.
Linebackers currently on the roster: Joey Porter, Clark Haggans, Curtis Gatewood, Will Davis, Gerald Hayes, Paris Lenon, Daryl Washington, Cyril Obiozor, O'Brien Schofield, Reggie Walker
All four of the Cardinals starting linebackers are on the wrong side of 30, so getting younger at this position is a must.
Also, the Cardinals were 30th in the league in run defense, allowing 145.2 yards per game and 4.4 yards per rush. Having a good run defense in the NFC West as the Cardinals have four games against Frank Gore and Steven Jackson.
Looking for a young linebacker whether in the draft or in free agency would help the Cardinals in both the short term by improving their run defense and in the long term by getting a player that could start for several years.
Corners currently on the roster: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Michael Adams, Marshay Green, AJ Jefferson, Trumaine McBride, Greg Toler, Hamza Abdullah, Matt Ware
The Cardinals have three excellent starting defensive backs. Adrian Wilson is a two time AP NFL first team All Pro selection. Kerry Rhodes is a one time All Pro selection. Corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was a Pro Bowl reserve in 2009 with six interceptions.
The problem is that the Cardinals don't have a solid starting corner outside of Rodgers-Cromartie and don't have a solid nickel corner. Both of those positions were abused by opponents' passing games and resulted in the Cardinals being ranked 23rd in pass defense in 2010.
If the Cardinals can upgrade both the number two corner spot and the nickel corner spot, they could be one of the best secondaries in the league.
Despite being 5-11 in 2010, the Cardinals were only two games behind the division winner Seahawks. A weak division will keep the Cardinals in the division hunt even if they don't improve.
A move for a veteran quarterback like Donovan McNabb would instantly make this team one of the favorites to win the NFC West, even with the other holes in their roster. The Cardinals still need to have an excellent draft if they want even the slightest chance of getting back to the Super Bowl next year.
Regardless of what happens, getting to 8-8 would be a huge step in the right direction for a team that is regressing fast. There is a faint chance that they could make the playoffs in 2011.