Mark May: 2 things make Cards title contenders

Posted at 1:28 PM, Jan 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-09 15:43:20-05

At least a handful of Arizona Cardinals fans went into panic mode after the Cards' season-ending blowout loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

But don't count Arizona resident and former Cardinal Mark May among those concerned about the Red Birds heading into the postseason.

May, an AZ resident who played for the Cards from 1992-93, has worked as a college football analyst for ESPN -- but during Saturday's CFP National Championship media day marathon, he took time to talk some NFL and praised coach Bruce Arians and the 13-3 Cards as they prepare to do postseason battle.

"When you look at what Bruce Arians has done with this football team, the way he's coached this team, (he's used) a lot of tough love, but that's the way it's got to be in the NFL. A lot of young players have grown up in a hurry," May said.

One of those young players -- third-year safety Tyrann Mathieu -- was named to the NFL's All-Pro team on Friday alongside Cardinal and former LSU teammate Patrick Peterson. But the man called the Honey Badger suffered a season-ending ACL tear with just two games remaining in the regular season.

Again, May isn't worried. He said the Cards have enough on defense to overcome that injury, and they have a quarterback who has played an MVP-caliber season -- and he said those two ingredients make for a winning postseason formula.

"Defensively, they've lost a lot in the Honey Badger, but I think if you look overall defensively, they're going to be fine, and you've got a great leader in Carson Palmer at the quarterback position," he said.

"That's what you need in the playoffs: A hot quarterback and a great defense."

And according to May, it really doesn't matter who the Cardinals play next weekend between the Vikings, Packers or Redskins. When asked which team the Cardinals match up best with, May said "all of them."

"I think they'll be favored against all three of those opponents," he said. "When you break all four of those teams down -- and I'm not just saying it because I'm living here -- I think the Cardinals are the best team by far out of those four."