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Cardinals Enter Offseason with Questions from Top to Bottom

With their season coming to a screeching halt, the Arizona Cardinals face another offseason where they must look in the mirror.

AllCardinals' Howard Balzer said it best: "It's another offseason of soul searching for the Arizona Cardinals." 

Heading into 2021, the Cardinals were forced to address an end-of-season collapse that saw Arizona bounce out of playoff contention with a Week 17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. 

That offseason, Arizona went out and grabbed key veterans such as center Rodney Hodson, receiver A.J. Green and defensive end J.J. Watt. Those additions, while filling holes in the depth chart, were also meant to strengthen the locker room and prevent further collapses. 

Now, a year later, the Cardinals again find themselves sitting on the couch, yet this time with the privilege of a playoff loss under their belt. 

Arizona, after starting 7-0 and possessing one of the most talented teams in the league, failed to deliver on a Super Bowl-caliber team that had solidified talent at every position group.

There was noise following 2020 of potential change happening throughout Arizona's organization, and after the Cardinals lost five of their final six games to finish this season, some are asking for those conversations to once again be brought up.

The reality is, significant changes are unlikely to happen. 

There's no logical reason for a team that had only three wins four seasons ago to tear down the progress that's already been made. 

That means the three major pillars in general manager Steve Keim, head coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray probably aren't going anywhere. 

However, that shouldn't mean answers aren't needed from the three aforementioned people as to how things will change moving forward. 

Offseason Questions, from Top to Bottom

Steve Keim: Now that we know the Cardinals have officially elevated themselves to a playoff contending team moving forward, how does the approach to building the 53 -man roster change? While there are undoubtedly leaders in the locker room, what more can be done to bolster this team to prevent another late-season collapse?

Now is where general managers make their money in turning good teams into great ones. We'll see what's done to improve the Cardinals even more. 

Kliff Kingsbury: We'll just leave this tweet right here. 

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The creativity is there. The decision to make Murray the guy instead of Josh Rosen was, in hindsight, one that easily paid off. 

However, the game management, play-calling and essentially all other duties assumed as a head coach have come under heavy fire during the last three seasons. What needs to change? 

Fans and reporters will offer their two cents on what exactly can be done differently, but the overall abilities as a head coach from Kingsbury, especially towards the end of the season where games begin to grow in importance, have consistently spiraled. 

The Cardinals have not handled adversity well, and on the field during those moments, it all begins with the man in charge. Kingsbury, although young in his coaching career, must learn sooner rather than later how to navigate the tough waters that comes with the luxurious house everybody loves to talk about. 

Kyler Murray: At one point in the season, Murray was the front-runner for the NFL's MVP award. 

There's no masking the electric talent that Murray presents when he's on the field. That might translate into a nice payday for him this offseason, but that is also a decision the organization has to make. 

When Murray's on and cylinders are firing on all levels, there's few defenses that can stop him. 

However, great quarterbacks are able to guide their team through tough stretches, something Murray hasn't yet shown he knows how to do. 

Murray is still early in his career, with plenty of football left ahead of him. 

However, it's very evident growth and maturity on the field is still much needed for Murray in his quest to become one of the league's top quarterbacks and ultimately a Super Bowl champion. 

There were times early in the first half and only down by two scores like Monday night when Murray would make critical errors. The three-yard pick-6 to put Arizona down 21-0 deficit was a perfect example of where Murray is at when the dominoes aren't falling in his favor. 

Of course, plenty of others have to look themselves in the mirror and ask what they can do to not only get the Cardinals back into the playoffs, but also what can be done to ensure the season doesn't end on such a sour note in 2022. 

The trio of Keim, Kingsbury and Murray will have to answer most of the questions in the coming months, and perhaps rightfully so.