Arizona hasn’t finished a season above .500 since going 10-6 four years ago, Kurt Warner’s last season in the NFL. In the three years following that season, they started no fewer than three quarterbacks per year, with Derek Anderson, John Skelton, Max Hall, Kevin Kolb, Richard Bartel, Ryan Lindley, and Brian Hoyer all attempting passes for the Cardinals in a three-year span.
They hoped to finally put that to rest by acquiring Carson Palmer in the offseason, but even he has had his struggles this year. Luckily for Arizona, with this defense, they don’t need much.
The Cardinals are 4-4 at the midway point thanks to a defense that advanced stats website Football Outsiders ranks first in the NFL by their DVOA measure. With stars like Daryl Washington, Patrick Peterson, Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett, plus NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Tyrann Mathieu, the Cards are tough against both the pass and the run.
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If Palmer can just run an average offense, and avoid turnovers unlike he has, with 14 interceptions in eight games, then Arizona could be headed back to the playoffs for the first time since the Warner era. If he doesn’t, they might have to dip right back into the veteran quarterback pool and hope to get lucky.
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The Bears placed him on the injured reserve with a designation to return, but the earliest he could return is in eight weeks. His regular season is over, and as a free agent to be, so too could his Bears career.
Tennessee’s playoff chances took a major hit on Sunday with the Titans’ loss to Jacksonville, but the team will likely be forced to play the rest of the season without starting quarterback Jake Locker. Locker suffered what is believed to be a Lisfranc foot injury and will almost certainly be out for the year.