Last year, Bruce Arians made some noise with some comments made about the dominance in the NFC West during his first training camp with the Arizona Cardinals.
"I don't see the dominance that everybody else talks about," he said.
There was more parity in the division than some pundits seemed to realize, he suggested. He was probably right. His team fared relatively well, winning 10 games while going 2-4 against NFC West opponents.
Of course, a season later, the division is regarded as the toughest in football, top to bottom, with the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers, who have made the playoffs three years and counting, along with Arians' Cardinals and the up-and-coming St. Louis Rams.
Arians commented again on the division while a guest of Bickley and Marotta Tuesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
"I think all three teams besides us got better," he said.
The Seahawks, for one, look to benefit from the sustained services of wide receiver Percy Harvin while adding speed threat Paul Richardson as a weapon on offense. The Rams, meanwhile, added rookie running back Tre Mason and the 49ers added Stevie Johnson and Bruce Ellington to an already deep roster.
"I know Seattle got better," Arians went on. "Russell (Wilson) is going to be better. (Colin Kaepernick) is better in San Francisco, so they're better, even though they've had a couple of injuries and suspensions, but they're going to be better.
"And then it's a shame that (Sam Bradford) got hurt, because I thought the Rams might be the surprise team in our division this year with their lines of scrimmage as good as they are."