As the regular season approaches we want to get all of you Cardinal fans ready and excited for the season as we introduce your 2018 Arizona Cardinals and their projected lineup. First a moment of reflection. 2017 was another solid year for the Cardinals as they again reached the divisional rd before being beaten 20-13 by the Atlanta Falcons. However there was some turmoil and good byes said along the way. After a strong 6-0 start the Cardinals limped their way to a 11-5 finish as NFC West champs. The offense struggled on 3rd downs and converting in the redzone but their team lead the league in turnover differential at +19. After the playoff exit Bruce Arians, in a surprising move, decided to retire and sent the Cardinals on a coaching search. They decided to bring in Mike Zimmer to take over. They were able to add some key depth in FA but then in a bombshell, traded away fan favorite and Superstar corner Patrick Peterson. They used that trade to secure two additional 3rd rd picks but a statement was made as "The Swat Team" lost their anchor. Now onto the product you will see on the field this year. QB: Zach Mettenberger (Starter), Matt Barkley (Backup) Mettenberger threw for 4,470 yards 26 TDs and only 13 ints a year ago in a career year. The sad thing is this season will be his 3rd different coordinator in as many years in the desert. With the weapons surrounding him the Cardinals have nothing but optimism going forward though as he continues to progress into a franchise QB. Barkley also has shown he is a more than capable backup though and really solidifies the QB spot for the Cards. HB. Chris Burrell (Starter), David Johnson (Backup), Kerwyn Williams (backup) Burrell ran for 1,075 yards and 10 TDs a year ago but the main reason he gets the nod is his versatility. He added 31 receptions for 429 yards and 3 TDs in the passing game and is only getting better. Johnson and Williams are both more than capable backups as well, so don't be surprised if Burrell hits another slump if he is moved to 3RB in favor of one of the others. FB/TE. Toben Opurum (Starting FB), Martellus Bennett (TE1), Jermaine Gresham (TE2), Joseph Fauria (TE3) Martellus Bennett is a key addition here and him and Gresham will be great weapons in 2 TE sets. Opurum was brought back after taking over the starting role from John Kuhn a year ago and ownership is high on the young FB. WR. J.T. Patton (WR1), Jimmy Ives (WR2), Michael Floyd (WR3), John Brown (WR4), Jaron Brown (WR5) J.T. Patton was a 2nd rd pick and quickly became a superstar and household TMFL name a season ago as a rookie. Joining him outside is newly drafted Jimmy Ives who has the threat to score anytime he touches the ball. He is a little raw but extremely dangerous and will be the teams new return man. Michael Floyd is going to assume John Browns slot role and his size and route running should make him an ideal slot receiver. John + Jaron Brown will share that 4th WR role but with a core this talented look for the Cardinals to show more 4WR sets this year. OL- Jared Veldheer (LT1), Dmitrius Mims (LT2), Mike Iupati (LG1), Duvon Foster (LG2), Zachery Vaughan (C1), A.Q Shipley (C2), Johnathan Cooper (LG1), Earl Watford (LG2), D.J. Humphries (RT1), Antuan Duncan (RT2) The first change in the last 3 seasons will take place week one as rookie Zachery Vaughan will start. The rest of the line has started every game for the last 3 seasons so the rookie should be in good hands. DL- Calais Campbell (LE1), Jimmy Stokes (LE2), John Hughes (LE3), Tamba Halo (RE1), Mario Williams (RE2), Jarvis Jenkins (RE3), Ben Vasquez (DT1), Louis Nix (DT2), Tony Jerod-Eddie (DT3) Jimmy Stokes was drafted to learn behind the superstar Calais Campbell, while rookie DT Ben Vasquez will start. Tamba Hali was brought in during FA and moved to RE. This group is deep with the lowest rated player in the 3 deep being 76. LB- Sean Weatherspoon (LOLB1), Robert Hart (LOLB2), Markus Golden (LOLB3), Zenel Goodwin (MLB1), Adrian Davis (MLB2), Kevin Minter (MLB3-A), Lamar Stead (MLB3-B), Daryl Washington (ROLB-1), Shaw Riddick (ROLB2), Patrick Harbin (ROLB3) Daryl Washington was moved to ROLB a year ago and had a career year so the staff is looking to strike gold with Weatherspoon switching as well. Zenel Goodwin took Daryl Washington's spot in the Middle and racked up 5 picks, lead the team in tackles, and won NFC DROY. Again the Cardinals move a newly drafted 1st rd guy into the mix with Adrian Davis whom many have said is a Goodwin clone. DB. Torry Newsome (CB1), Keland Dean (CB2), Jerraud Powers (CB3), Chance Casey (CB4), Tyran Mathieu (FS1), Chris Clemmons (FS2), Drone Buchannon (SS1), Tony Jefferson (SS2) The team has halted all Swat Team merchandise at the request of the defensive backfield. After drafting New some and Dean it was a nickname the press gave the unit but now leader Tyran Mathieu has said the group wants to earn it. It isn't shocking that Peterson was dealt, Mathieu had seized control as the best player in the group, Newsome and Dean are rising stars and it was time for Dean to get out of the slot, and it was almost decision time on him as his contract was set to balloon. The player with the most to prove in the group is Powers. He has been living as a 4th CB for the last two years and now he moves into the slot. Let's see if this group can regain what is rightfully theirs in the Swat Team nickname. Special Teams- Chandler Catanzaro (K/KOS), Drew Butler (P), Jimmy Ives (Ret) Catanzaro was perfect on the year a year ago en route to Kicker of the year honors. Butler is a solid punter as well and usually ranks in the top half of net yards. Jimmy Ives the rookie is the one to watch here as he has game breaking athleticism and should be a huge difference maker. The Cardinals are expected to compete for the West and NFC this year. With this roster I very well like their chances of getting it done. My prediction is they will win the West but lose in the Conference championship game.