This article is part of our Team Previews series.
STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
It's a year later, but the same questions linger in the desert that did before the 2011 season and the Cardinals are still searching for an answer to the biggest question of all: Can Kevin Kolb finally prove he's the right guy in Glendale or will John Skelton defy the odds and take over the reins of the franchise?
For a team that started 1-6 and looked completely out of sync for the first half of the season, going 7-2 over the final nine games and finishing 2011 with an 8-8 record is impressive, but that mark still left a bitter taste in the mouths of Cardinals' supporters. Watching the team's playoff hopes sail over the tip of Early Doucet's outstretched fingers in the end zone against Cincinnati in Week 16 perfectly summed up the team's 2011 campaign full of missed opportunities.
What if John Skelton and his 6-2 record had replaced Kolb, who dealt with both a foot injury and concussion, earlier? Folks like to say that Tim Tebow "just wins," but how about Skelton? The sophomore quarterback engineered five game-winning drives, including three in overtime, in his seven starts. Kolb, meanwhile, enters the offseason with a 2-6 record while wearing an Arizona jersey.
Despite the thrilling wins during the second half of the season, the Cards finished with pedestrian numbers across the board, ranking 17th in both passing offense and defense, and falling off slightly to 24th in rushing yards and 21st in