There are any things to discuss with one of the NFL's most vibrant personalities in Arizona defensive lineman Calais Campbell. We could start with his trip to Nigeria this offseason with teammate Sam Acho to assist a hospital that treats poor families. Or his screenwriting classes that's led to a rough draft of a script about “a workforce David vs. Goliath story.”

What he can also discuss is football because, you know, that's his job. Specifically, Campbell is asked about the NFC West, the toughest division in the NFL, and if the Cardinals can win it.

“Yeah, we can,” he says.

Last year the 49ers went to the Super Bowl and almost won it. The Seahawks made the playoffs and have chance to make the Super Bowl this season. The Rams are a trendy pick to win the division based on their division leading 4-1-1 record last year. Yes, the Rams—not the 49ers or Seahawks—had the best division record. The Cardinals went 5-11 overall and finished last.

“That was last year,” Campbell says, “and I think you're going to see a different team this season. A very different one.”

What will be so different this season from last?

“We have a quarterback,” he said.

And there it is. The big reason why the Cardinals could end up being one of the true surprises in football comes down to two words: Carson Palmer.

“I think it's very likely we can win the division, yes,” said Campbell. “I respect every opponent in our division. Every one. But I think of it this way. We were able to hang in a bunch of our division games without a real quarterback.

“I don't want to disrespect anyone but now we have a real quarterback to go with a good defense. When we play with a lead, we're hard to beat. This is the first time in years that we have an offense that matches our defense.”

He added: “I was talking to Carson the other day and he said he's never really played with a good defense before. I told him it's been awhile since I played with a good quarterback.”