Every once in a while you get one of those teams that seems to defy logic. Maybe you have a player that no matter what he does he always comes out on top, or a coach that calls one of the dumbest plays in history but it manages to work.
This is where we stand with the Arizona Cardinals and their elusiveness against Father Time.
Before Carson Palmer arrived in Arizona it was perceived that his career was over, his body was breaking down and he was tagged with the ill-fated “cant win the big one” ala Peyton Manning, he has managed to put up great stats along the way but that elusive Super Bowl appearance still haunts him. Palmer’s numbers rivals any of the top passers in the league. Last season at age 36 while starting all 16 games Palmer threw for 4671 yards, 35 TDs, 11 INTs and a completion percentage of 64%. Yeah he still has the chops to perform at a high level I would say.
He is not the only player on the roster that has had a rebirth of sorts.
The veteran WR Larry Fitzgerald, who was once considered one of the best in the game fell from grace for a few seasons but last year he and Palmer found their chemistry as Fitzgerald totaled 109 receptions for 1215 and 9 TDs, but what happened in the playoffs last season proved that he could perform when the team needed him the most as he caught 8 passes for 176 yards in a first round win over Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Fitz has only played for the Cardinals but his last three seasons prior were not up to his normal standards as he failed to crack the 1,000 yard plateau from 2012-2014. He has found his groove again.
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But the rebirth doesn’t stop with Palmer and Fitz.
The once unstoppable RB Chris Johnson was slated to be the backup to phenom David Johnson but when David went down with an injury Chris took the ball and never looked back while he was healthy. Chris started 9 games and finished with 814 yards on 194 attempts and should be the front-runner to start the season as the #1 option out the backfield in 2016. We won’t see another 2,000 yard season from Chris but he proved that if given the right amount of touches he can still WOW you.
There is more one person that fits into the Fountain of Youth movement and that is DE Dwight Freeney. Freeney was once considered one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFL during his stellar run with the Colts but age and injuries caught up with him and while most fans figured he rode off into the sunset quietly they were surprised to see that he was in Arizona racking up 8 sacks in 2015. Not a single start to his credit but even in spot duty you could see that his desire to succeed was still there.
What’s in store for these 4 players in 2016 remains to be seen but if history is any indication they will come back hungrier, determined and focused as they felt their season was cut short as injuries hit them at the worst time possible. While some teams are looking to trim the age off their roster in hopes of getting young and contending the Cardinals have done the exact opposite and went with veteran leadership with great results.
But as we have noticed with any sport no athlete can outrun or defeat Father Time, so the Cardinals Fearsome Foursome better strike while they still can.