TEMPE, Ariz. -- Some shaky performances by his team in the preseason weren't enough to make Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians second-guess where his team is headed in 2016.
Never mind the 11 turnovers, he said, or the fact that a handful of key players were hobbled during camp, including Pro Bowl safety Tyrann Mathieu (knee), rookie defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (ankle), No. 3 receiver John Brown (concussion) and Pro Bowl gunner Justin Bethel (foot), who was fighting for a starting spot at cornerback.
"Oh, I'm extremely confident," Arians said after finishing the preseason 1-3. "We've had a great camp. We've had moments offensively and defensively that show what we're capable of and I think we'll be more than ready next Sunday night."
Asked when he and his coaches started game planning for Tom Brady-less Patriots, Arians didn't hesitate.
"May," he said, drawing laughs from reporters.
Arians expects to have all of his starters ready to go for the opener, including the four aforementioned players.
Mathieu, he said, has been looking exceptionally sharp in his comeback from a second ACL surgery in three years despite being limited in the preseason.
"I expect him to play every single play (against the Patriots)," Arians said.
Arians also expects bigger and better things from his offense and defense, both of which finished 2015 ranked in the Top 5 -- a first for the franchise since 1963.
The offense, which set a franchise record for most yards (6,533) and helped the team to its most touchdowns ever (58), should take on an extra dimension with the emersion of second-year running back David Johnson.
Johnson was the league's third-leading rusher over the final five weeks of the season after replacing an injured Chris Johnson, and he will warrant more touches than perhaps anyone in 2016.
Add a healthy Chris Johnson, who was well on his way to a 1,000-yard season before injuring his leg, plus the explosiveness of Andre Ellington, and Arians said the Cardinals' running game is "better than it's ever been.
"Every time they touch the ball, it looks like they're going to break it to the house," he added. "So that's a beautiful thing."
Johnson averaged 4.3 yards per carry last season (for 814 total yards) before a cracked tibia ended his season prematurely. Though he turns 31 this season, the former 2,000-yard rusher for the Titans, promises he has much, much more to give this year after recovering from a gunshot wound to the shoulder in the spring of 2015.
"I think I'm way better than last year," he said. "I was coming back last year from being shot, not being in shape. Now, I'm in shape. I can use my hand a lot more."
Carson Palmer, returning for his fourth year in the system and coming off career highs in passing yards (4,671) and touchdowns (35), still has multiple talented targets Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown, Jaron Brown and J.J. Nelson, not to mention an improving tight end group.
On defense, the Cardinals beefed up and added two dangerous pass rushers -- outside linebacker Chandler Jones, acquired in a trade form the Patriots, and Nkemdiche, whom they plucked late in the first round of this year's draft.
Added to a mix that also includes the 6-foot-8 Calais Campbell, a healthy Corey Peters and hard-hitting "money" backer Deone Bucannon, the Cardinals will be on the hunt for quarterbacks all year, beginning with the Patriots' fill-in, Jimmy Garoppolo.
"I'm licking my chops," Campbell, the two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, said of facing Garoppolo.
If the Cardinals' pass rush can't pester or punish Garoppolo, who is far more mobile and escapable than Brady, Arizona's "No Fly Zone" secondary featuring All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson and the Honey Badger will be there to try and take away the pass.
Williams is raw, but he's a playmaker, Arians said, and since he's bound to get picked on far more often than Peterson, he'll have plenty of chances at interceptions and pick-sixes.
Considering the schedule and the quarterbacks they will face in 2016, there's a chance for the Cardinals to lay down plenty of destruction from all directions.
All that matters in the end, they said, is the Super Bowl, and after getting so close to it a year ago, it's what consumes them.
"It's not going to be easy," Campbell said. "Every team that's won a championship, they had to earn it every week. We're not afraid of the hard work, though. ...
"We've only had a couple of opportunities and really, I feel like this team has the best opportunity out of any of them I've been a part of."
Added Arians: "I can't wait to get started. We know how good we are."
--Quarterback Matt Barkley, who was among the final 22 players released by the team when it reduced its roster to the final 53, led all NFL quarterbacks with 660 passing yards in the preseason.
--Kicker Chandler Catanzaro made all three of his field goal attempts in the preseason finale against the Broncos, including a 59-yarder. It was the perfect way, he said, for him to be ready for the season opener Sunday night against the Patriots.
"I think it was a big confidence builder, for sure, just hitting from that distance, whether it's preseason or regular season," Catanzaro said. Definitely a huge confidence boost going forward."