BY: ED COLE
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Nate Burleson is one of the preeminent voices on NFL Network. He can speak on what he sees from teams because he’s been where they’re at right now, having played 11 years in the NFL for the Vikings, Seahawks and Lions.
Burleson was in town over the weekend supporting Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson and his charity golf tournament, and he had a few minutes to share his thoughts on what he saw from the 2015 Arizona Cardinals, some of their moves in free agency and if the team is turning into a legitimate destination for future free agents.
Burleson on what he saw from the Cardinals last season:
“Strong offense. The defense was one of their (Cardinals) anchors. From the very beginning of the season, for me, it was about keeping (Cardinals quarterback) Carson (Palmer) upright, and letting him deliver the ball.”
“Going into the year, I don’t think many people had the ultimate amount of respect for their wide receiving corps. By the end of the year, I think they realized it was one of the best in the league by far.”
“(David) Johnson, at running back, is phenomenal. Just big (and) strong; looks like a linebacker, runs like a halfback.”
“They got all the tools. They’re built to be Super Bowl champs. A lot of people had them winning. Halfway through the year, they became my favorite (to win the Super Bowl). When you have a squad like that, and (you) can retain most of your guys, you kind of have the feeling that you’re gonna be in the same position next year.”
Burleson on if the Cardinals will continue to attract big name free agents:
“Oh yeah. Not to mention that Arizona’s a beautiful place to live, but more importantly, when you have a squad that people want to play with, and you have veteran guys, there’s a lot of places where free agents go to, and all the pressure’s on them. If I was kind of a mid-year vet, I’d come to (the) Arizona (Cardinals), 100%, because they have the pieces. So right now, they’re not rebuilding. They’re not trying to piece together a squad to match Seattle (Seahawks), or match Carolina (Panthers), or match Denver (Broncos), they’re trying to add to (the) firepower they have here. It’s a desirable place on and off the field.”
Burleson on Cardinals signing outside linebacker Chandler Jones:
“In this division (NFC West), you gotta get after quarterbacks, specifically (Seahawks quarterback) Russell Wilson. So you get a guy like Chandler (Jones), who’s rangy, (and) who can not only come off the edge and attack any quarterback, but you can drop him in coverage, you can put him (in) spy in a situation where he can sit back and be really delegated to watch Russ(ell Wilson) and contain him. You can (only) do so much to stop the Seattle offense, but if Russell turns into Russell, he can break the game with one of his special plays.”
Burleson on the signing of right guard Evan Mathis:
“He’s (Mathis) a tremendous talent. I feel like, when you look at this past season, you look at the individuals that had an impact on the year. We love saying that offense wins games, but defense wins championships; it rang true. When everybody’s trying to piece together a squad, they’re looking in the trenches. They’re trying to upgrade their offensive line, (and) they’re trying to upgrade their defensive line. When you’re looking at the moves that the Cardinals made, that’s what they did.”