COACH: FRANK IVY
1958 RECORD: W 2, L 9, T 1, TIED FOR 5TH
1959 EXHIBITIONS: W 5, L 2
It usually requires three years for a college quarterback to master the complexity of the professional game. King Hill, the big, tough kid from Rice Institute, may improve on that schedule by a year. Quarterback was the soft spot in the Cardinal passing offense last year; Hill still must show he can throw long, but he has the other requisites, plus good protection from an improved line and fine receivers in Bobby Joe Conrad, John David Crow and John Tracey, all Texans.
You would think a club which had given up one of football's finest runners in Ollie Matson must suffer in its ground attack. But Texas A&M's John Crow may be just as good as Matson running, and he's a better pass receiver. Add two good big fullbacks—Mal Hammack and Larry Hickman—and a skittery converted defensive halfback named Bobby Conrad and you have a strong running attack.
In the trade which sent Matson to the Rams, the Cardinals received Frank Fuller, a 250-pound veteran tackle who gives the Cards an ingredient sadly lacking last year: the ability to rush a passer. Ivy's secondary defense has been shored up with the addition of Jerry Norton, who came from the Eagles, and it is now solid.
Here again Fuller has been a big help to the Cardinals. Ivy has calked up a rather porous line; now the defensive unit is a canny blend of rookies, second-year players and a few steadying oldtimers.
The Cardinals move to Soldier Field this year in hopes of attracting more fans. Coach Pop Ivy, trading astutely and drafting wisely, has provided a team which should be one of the most exciting in the league on offense, running from his unusual double-wing T formation. More important, this year's edition of the Cardinals looks better, much tougher on defense, with a quick, big line plus a set of veteran pass defenders and good linebackers. A young team, only a year or two away at most and improving.
(Lost conference playoff to New York Giants
COACH: PAUL BROWN
1958 RECORD: W9, L3, TIED FOR 1ST
1959 EXHIBITIONS: W2, L4
Early in the exhibition season after a loss to Detroit, Coach Paul Brown said: "I could always see rays of hope in the past; now I see none." But things aren't quite as bad as he saw them, though. Milt Plum is an improving passer, Jim Ninowski could develop into a fine one. The receivers—Bill Howton, Ray Renfro, Preston Carpenter and Rich Kreitling—could be the fastest group in the NFL.