Is this the year the Arizona Cardinals win the brutally tough NFC West?
There is no time like 2014 to win the NFC West, probably the toughest division in the National Football League.
Just ask Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
"The time is now. The time is now," Arizona's star receiver Larry Fitzgerald told espn.com. "We know we have to take care of our division first. That's the fastest way to get in the playoffs. That's where our goal is — to win the NFC West."
Last offseason's overhaul of the Red Birds roster was looked at as a bridge from one coaching regime to another. This year, however, the Cardinals' offseason moves have been geared to filling specific needs that can put them over the hump.
"We're built to win now," Fitzgerald explained to espn.com. "We have a tough division but I think we line up and match up pretty well with everybody we face."
Arizona improved five games last year and finished 10-6. The Cards were in the playoff hunt right up until the last game of the season.
That's real progress.
The additions of left tackle Jared Veldheer, cornerback Antonio Cromartie and wide receiver Ted Ginn coupled with last season's 10-6 finish, have set the bar higher than it's been in a few seasons. For Fitzgerald, who's entering his 11th season, this year's team is the closest to being as good as Arizona's 2008 squad that lost in the Super Bowl to Pittsburgh since that run.
"The way we finished last year," Fitzgerald said, "the way we're built to be dominant on both fronts — offensive and defensive lines — the quarterback that we have, the skill players that we have surrounding him, I think gives us a great chance to go out and compete at the highest level."
That's music to the ears of Arizona Cardinals fans.
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Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Football, Karlos Dansby, Larry Fitzgerald, NFL, Rashard Mendenhall, Yeremiah Bell