Earlier this offseason, Steve Keim considered the idea that the Cardinals were pushing hard with all the veteran free agents signed for 2021 to be their year.
"I know people have made comments that we're going for it, or pushing our chips all in. I don't really see it that way," Keim said. "I see it as a team that won five games, and then won eight games, and that wasn't good enough."
There isn't any getting away with how important this particular year is for the Cardinals, however, a point driven home Wednesday by wide receiver Christian Kirk on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."
"I think it's now or never for us," Kirk said, "and that's the attitude in the locker room."
That about sums it up.
"We finally feel like we have all the pieces to put it together and really make a push for the playoffs and for a championship," Kirk added. "I know guys in the locker room aren't expecting anything less than that. We know what opportunity we have at hand and we know we have to be better. But since coach (Kliff) Kingsbury has gotten here, we have gotten better every year and now is the year. We have a young group of core guys that have been through a lot, all the ups and downs, and we know the opportunity is here. We have to rise to the occasion."
It's not a huge surprise to hear such a take -- after all, Kirk is in the final year of his contract, there are many guys in the same situation, and as many young players as the Cards have they have also added a lot of veterans who are in the back ends of their careers. One of them, Larry Fitzgerald, may or may not be back -- and Kirk, by the way, has no more insight than the rest of us (or at least he isn't saying.)
"You never know with Fitzy," Kirk said. "He's kind of taking his time. A little longer this year."