The Cardinals have struggled at quarterback since Kurt Warner retired after the 2009 season.
Since then the position has been a rotating door that has featured the likes of Derek Anderson, John Skelton, Max Hall, Ryan Lindley, Brian Hoyer and Kevin "the ball won't come out of my hands" Kolb.
In 2013 Arizona will hit the reset button on the position by starting veteran Carson Palmer, who the Cardinals acquired via trade from the Oakland Raiders.
Palmer gives the Cardinals' offense its first real down-field passing attack since they lost Warner.
This is welcome news to franchise player, All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald has become a lost man in the Cardinals' offense the last three seasons, seeing his receptions (71), yardage (798) and touchdowns (4) all slip to complete season career lows (Fitz missed three games in '06 and aside from receptions still managed to put up better numbers than his entire 2012 campaign).
While the Arizona passing attack may stand to improve its offense line and running game still has many holes to be filled, namely, all of them, with the exception of right tackle Bobby Massie who started as a rookie last season. The other four starters on the offensive line average thirty years of age, and two of which were undrafted entering the NFL.
The defense remains the strength of this team entering 2013, led by veteran DT Darnell Dockett and the young explosive cornerback, Patrick Peterson, this unit will have to carry an unusually heavy load for the Cardinals to find success this year. Lets take a look at how the schedule unfolds:
9/8 @ St Louis Rams (L)
9/15 Detroit Lions (L)
9/22 @ New Orleans Saints (L)
9/29 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (W)
September is not an easy month for the Cardinals, as they play three of their first four games on the road, including a pair of games against NFC South teams that both figure to be in the thick of the playoff hunt come December. The Cardinals will be a little slow out of the gate dropping their first three, before rebounding to beat Tampa Bay giving them a 1-3 record for the month.
10/6 Carolina Panthers (W)
10/13 @ San Francisco 49ers (L)
10/17 Seattle Seahawks (W)
10/27 Atlanta Falcons (L)
Carson Palmer and company will enjoy back to back wins after upsetting visiting Carolina to open the month, but a trip to San Fran will knock the Cardinals back to Earth.
A very short turnaround follows that game, and the duo of Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams will wear down an exhausted Seahawks squad that is travelling four days after hosting the Titans.
Arizona closes their October slate with the Falcons who come to town for a Monday night game that will drop the Cardinals to 3-5 on the season as they enter their bye week.
11/10 Houston Texans (L)
11/17 @ Jacksonville Jaguars (W)
11/24 Indianapolis Colts (L)
November is a short month for the Cardinals, who following the bye week will knock out three of their four games versus AFC South opponents.
Houston and Indianapolis will both score road wins sandwiched around the Cardinals' lone victory of the month in Jacksonville. Entering December at 4-7 the Cardinals need to run the table to have a prayer for the playoffs.
12/1 @ Philadelphia Eagles (W)
12/8 St Louis Rams (W)
12/15 @ Tennessee Titans (W)
12/22 @ Seattle Seahawks (L)
12/29 San Francisco 49ers (L)
Arizona will begin December with back to back wins on the road vs. Philly and at home against their division rival St Louis.
Tennessee will have already imploded at this point on their way to a 2-14 record, and the Cardinals will enter the last two weeks of the season optimistic about their chances, only to fall flat against Seattle on the road and at home versus San Francisco.
The Red Birds will finish 7-9, offering some hope to the long suffering Arizona fans for the immediate future with Palmer at the helm.