There is a famous gif of Bruce Arians whipping his head around in surprise when a Patrick Peterson touchdown was taken off the board in the 2015 playoffs.
Devon Kennard channeled that reaction in the middle of March, when word leaked that the Cardinals were trading for superstar DeAndre Hopkins.
"To be honest, I couldn't believe it," said the veteran outside linebacker, who agreed to a deal with the Cardinals a few days later. "I was like, 'How the heck did that happen?'"
The addition of Hopkins was the opening salvo in an encouraging start to the league year for Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim. Kennard, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and inside linebacker De'Vondre Campbell were subsequently added in free agency, as the roster's four glaring needs were quickly filled with known commodities.
"I feel very good (about the roster)," Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said. "There's obviously a lot more work to be done. The draft will be an important part of our addition of player talent. And then it always seems like, after the draft, there are always some late signings as we get closer to camp. So there are still a few more steps as we get closer, but I like on paper how it's come together."
Outside linebacker Chandler Jones arrived in Arizona heading into the 2016 season, when expectations were sky-high. The team didn't live up to them that year and hasn't had a winning season since, but his eagerness for 2020 is matching the outside vibe of raised expectations.
"I'm excited, honestly," Jones said on ‘On The Fly’ with Lisa Matthews. "I believe in our front office and what they're doing. As you can see, what we look like right now looks amazing, and we still have a whole draft ahead."
The Cardinals began to find their bearings at the end of 2019, winning two of their final three games while playing efficiently on both sides of the ball. Coach Kliff Kingsbury proved he was not in over his head at the NFL level, and the pain of 2018 slowly shifted to hope moving forward.
"I think it's a young team with a lot of opportunity," Kennard said. "I like what coach Kingsbury is doing here, and I'm excited about the direction of the program, and what we'll be able to accomplish this year."
Even though the Cardinals only won five games a season ago, there is momentum because of the roster upgrades, the expected maturation of quarterback Kyler Murray and the return of key cogs like Larry Fitzgerald, D.J. Humphries and Kenyan Drake.
"We're bringing all of these pieces together, and it's an awesome opportunity for us, and it puts us in position to (have a winning season)," quarterback Brett Hundley said. "Keim is doing an awesome job bringing all these pieces together, but at the same time, we have to go out there and execute. We can have the best roster that looks good, but if we if don't' execute, there's really nothing to it."
It's easy to get out over your skiis during the offseason, when optimism runs rampant. That's why Hundley cautions that there are still obstacles, and that the process can take time.
"We want to win the Super Bowl," Hundley said. "That's everybody's goal. But at the same time, we have to understand that it's a young offense. It's still a young coaching staff. It's still a young mesh of players coming together, and we're building. Rather than understanding we're already there, we're still building, and we're trying to put everything together."
Images of the players the Cardinals have added in free agency