The NFL season is inching closer. Through July, Shutdown Corner will examine three big questions for each NFL team as it heads to training camp.
Report date: July 21 for rookies and veterans
Where: Glendale, Arizona
1. Which John Brown can we expect?
This time last year, the buzz around the Cards centered on speedy wide receiver John Brown. The Division II Pittsburg State product burst onto the scene as a second-year pro in 2015, compiling more than 1,000 yards with seven touchdown catches. But last year, while playing through a cyst on his spine, Brown struggled to regain his form – amassing career-lows across the board. Now healthy and fresh off of living with Carson Palmer during the summer, the 27-year-old wideout is primed for a huge bounce-back campaign playing alongside the always reliable Larry Fitzgerald. Remember, troubled receiver Michael Floyd is gone and the Cards have 88 vacated targets. Expect Brown to be the main beneficiary.
2. Can Arizona discover a healthy offensive balance?
David Johnson may just win MVP this season. That’s how special he has already become. And yet, that’s what is so confusing about this offense: Despite Johnson’s dominance last year, only five teams threw the ball more than the Cardinals. Make no mistake, Palmer is still an effective quarterback who can push the ball down the field. But with Johnson churning out yards and one of the premier defenses in pro football, more balance must be achieved, especially on first and second down. Doing so will also help alleviate the pressure from the 37-year-old Palmer, who endured his lowest completion percentage since 2011 when he was with the Oakland Raiders.
[Yahoo’s Pressing Questions: Fantasy outlook on the Cardinals]
3. Is Bruce Arians ready to roll
The stresses of being an NFL head coach are undeniable, but when you add cancer to the equation, it’s seemingly impossible. Arians, In his new book, “The Quarterback Whisperer,” said he was diagnosed with kidney cancer last December. The 64-year-old head coach has to be focused and healthy for Arizona to rebound from its highly disappointing 7-8-1 season. He has been widely credited – and rightfully so – for changing the Cardinals culture and getting everyone to buy in.
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