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Cardinals owner: Healthier team ready to bounce back

The Arizona Cardinals finished a disappointing 7-8-1 last season, a year after making the NFC Championship Game.

The Cards then lost a trove of defenders in free agency, including Calais Campbell, Tony Jefferson, Kevin Minter and D.J. Swearinger.

Despite an aging roster with the two franchise cornerstones -- Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald -- contemplating retirement, owner Michael Bidwill told Good Morning Football on Wednesday that offseason additions, and getting players back healthy, gives him optimism the Cards will be back in the playoff hunt in 2017.

"We've got to get a little more healthy," Bidwill said. "When you look at offense, defense we were in pretty good shape last year, although there were some plays we could have made that could have got us over the top. I think when you look at special teams, we were 32nd in the league and so we made a lot of changes around special teams and the draft is going to help us get some depth there. And so we are excited about the draft, the players we've got going into this year..."

On defense, the Cardinals finished No. 2 overall in yards per game allowed (305.2) and 14th in points per tilt (22.6). On offense, Bruce Arians' team finished No. 9 in yards per game (366.8) and sixth in points per contest (26.1). Football Outsiders ranked Arizona's defense third in the NFL while the offense 18th in efficiency in 2016. The special teams unit ranked in the bottom third on seemingly every metric.

Bidwill believes players returning from injury will bring a big boost in 2017. Safety Tyrann Mathieu is a year away from another knee injury and could be returning to form.

"We've got Tyrann Mathieu back ... John Brown looks like he's back to what John Brown was, the speedy receiver we had, so we are excited going into this year about all the players coming back."

Pairing Mathieu (if he remains healthy) with hard-hitting rookie safety Budda Baker should make the Cards' back end exciting to watch. With Patrick Peterson at corner, Chandler Jones and Markus Golden rushing the passer, Arizona has the makings of another quality defensive group, despite the offseason departures.

Bidwill also glowed about the versatility first-round pick Haason Reddick brings to the unit.

"We got a dynamic player who can play multiple roles," he said. "And we think when you look at our defense we've got a lot of players that can do that, and having an additional player with Haason Reddick's athletic ability, his speed, we're really excited about it."

The versatility on defense, coupled with the play-making ability of David Johnson, Palmer and Fitzgerald on offense, make the Cardinals a good bounce-back candidate in 2017 -- if they can fix their pesky issues on special teams.

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