According to NFL.com writer Adam Schein, the Arizona Cardinals will make the playoffs in 2013.
Glad that's all settled.
Schein writes that he was tasked with coming up with a team that missed the playoffs in 2012 that will make it in 2013, and when he looked at everything, Arizona was the choice.
This is not a piece for shock value. I honestly, truly, deeply believe the Cardinals are going to be the surprise team of the year with the right tweaks along the way. Sit back. I'm about to sell you.
They have the right people running the show.
They now employ the 2012 NFL Coach of the Year.
And yes, they have a great defense.
Schein believes that Bruce Arians, who the Cardinals hired to replace Ken Whisenhunt, was the best coach available in the offseason. Writing the team "won the coaching carousel", Schein says he believes Arians and assistant coach Tom Moore will be able to maximize the offensive talent on the roster, and specifically Kevin Kolb's.
Look, there's work to do on Kolb's mentality and play, but Arians and Moore will do it. And there is a building point here. Before Kolb got hurt in Week 6 last year, the Cardinals were 4-1. He rocked steady against the Philadelphia Eagles in a win. He was clutch against the Miami Dolphins. Kevin Kolb beat the New England Patriots.
Of course, Schein notes the Cardinals will likely add another quarterback, but looks at Arizona as a squad with a good defense that just added the right coach at the right time.
And, he says, they should have better injury luck this next season.
Every team has injuries, but Arizona had 17 offensive players combine to miss a whopping 103 games, with nine guys hitting injured reserve. Levi Brown didn't play a game. Home run threat Ryan Williams missed 11. Beanie Wells was out for seven. And Kolb, of course, missed 10, forcing John Skelton and Ryan Lindley into way too much action.
Anything that could've gone wrong went wrong for Ken Whisenhunt's team last year. That won't happen again in 2013.
But whatever happens, Schein believes the Cardinals will be better simply because they have better coaches in place.
As one playoff executive said to me, "For an offense that was inept last year, they actually aren't far away. Moore and Arians will help the QB (Kolb). They need to add a running back and solidify the line. Steve knows what he has to do there. The only piece to add on defense maybe is an edge rusher. The defense is loaded. Russ Grimm held that team back. He was a poor offensive line coach. The kids (on the offensive line) who struggled gained experience and the new staff will help."
Perhaps Schein is correct and the Cardinals will be back in the postseason in Arians' first year at the helm. It will not be easy, as the team does have issues to correct, but maybe the new coaching staff will be the catalyst for the improvements.
Then again, the Cardinals are in the same division as Super Bowl runner-up San Francisco and playoff team Seattle, so the road won't exactly be easy.
Apparently none of that matters to the writer. That's cool.