NFL teams are in the midst of training camp and the preseason has begun. What do we expect from the Arizona Cardinals in 2017?

It’s safe to say we’re not shy when it comes to getting you ready for the upcoming NFL season. Since March, we have strung together four different series in preparation for the fall. We just concluded looking at all 32 teams’ most improved area. That was preceded by pieces on a club’s best offseason addition, some facts, figures and feats for each squad, as well as an up-and-coming player for each roster.

So call this one for the thumb. With the regular-season rapidly approaching, we’ll take a look at what we could expect from each team. Every team wants to win the Super Bowl. However, 31 teams will obviously be disappointed. So we have been taking a look at all 32 clubs (in original 2017 draft order) and doing a little analysis. You can play catch up right here. So what are we really expecting from the Arizona Cardinals in 2017?

When you win a franchise-record 13 regular-season games in one season and get within a victory of a Super Bowl appearance, the expectations one year later are enormous. But unfortunately for head coach Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals, it didn’t work out in 2016. An erratic year from Carson Palmer and too many miscues by the kicking game and special teams reduced the Cards to a 7-8-1 football team.

However, there’s still a lot of talent on this club. Running back David Johnson led the NFL in total yards from scrimmage and total touchdowns. Ageless Larry Fitzgerald caught a league-high 107 passes. The defense amassed an NFL-best 48 sacks – thanks mainly to the combination of outside linebackers Markus Golden (12.5) and Chandler Jones (11).

The team added some solid veterans via free agency such as inside linebacker Karlos Dansby and strong safety Antoine Bethea. Arguably the most important was placekicker Phil Dawson, one of the best performers at his position ever. There is also a switch on the offensive line as Jared Veldheer moves to right tackles and D.J. Humphries takes over on the left side. All told, this is a very strong roster.

Summation:

Many people were fooled by the Arizona Cardinals in 2016. The team won six fewer games than the previous season and the club seemed to self-destruct at the most inopportune times. Is there any reason for us to believe that this is actually a better football team at the moment? The defense lost a key veteran in Calais Campbell and needs 2016 first-rounder Robert Nkemdiche to step up in a big way. And the Red Birds can’t afford another year in which they commit as many turnovers (28) as they forced.

These Cards are a bit of a question mark and we look for them to bounce back. Nine wins seems like the right call but there’s the potential for more if Palmer can repeat his 2015 performance.

Russell S. Baxter is the NFL lead columnist for EndZoneScore.com and the founder of ProFootballGuru.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BaxFootballGuru.

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