Let's take a look at the report card on the offensive side of the ball for the Red Birds:
Grade: C +
The Cardinals ranked right in the middle of the pack in the NFL, averaging 23.7 points per game. Quarterback Carson Palmer took all the snaps at the position and bounced back well from a poor first half of the season when he threw eight TD passes but 13 interceptions. The last nine contests were quite different – 16 TD passes and just eight interceptions. He finished with 4,274 yards passing and became the first QB in NFL history to throw for over 4,000 yards in a season for three different teams (Bengals, Raiders). His 22 picks were a career-high so he has to bring that total down quite a bit but he was one of the main reasons the Red Birds were in the playoff hunt until the last game of the season.
Larry Fitzgerald had a solid season with 10 touchdowns but he failed to reach 1,000 receiving yards (954). Second-year WR Michael Floyd is really starting to blossom – the University of Notre Dame product had a team-high 1,041 receiving yards and had the biggest catch of the year – the 31-yarder to win the game against Seattle in Week 16. Tight end Rob Housler struggled with nagging injuries but finally caught his first TD pass and finished the season with 454 yards receiving. Andre Roberts seemed like a forgotten man for most of the season and finished with only two touchdown catches.
Veteran Rashard Mendenhall dealt with a variety of injuries but still led Arizona with eight rushing touchdowns and 687 yards on the ground. Rookie Andre Ellington was electric for parts of the season and wound up with a combined 1,023 yards and four touchdowns. He has the potential to be a real star in the NFL. He might be the most exciting player on the team, with all due respect to Fitzgerald. Rookie Stepfan Taylor rushed just 36 times for 115 yards. The Red Birds still like his future though.
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