Early NFC West Future Play
Written by Travis Gillmore
The Arizona Cardinals are due for some major regression in 2022-23 and under 8.5 wins looks like great value.
The offseason was definitely eventful for the Arizona Cardinals, Kyler Murray put out a demanding letter to the organization and pushed them into giving him a fat new contract. The coach and general manager also got new deals and we are still very unsure if any of those people earned those extensions. Murray had two years left on his deal, he has yet to stay healthy for an entire season, and there are major questions about his work ethic and leadership skills. Then Kingsbury got a new deal despite his team getting worse over the course of the year multiple years in a row.
The Cardinals are notorious now for starting fast and ending slow, in a few cases very slow. They limped into the playoffs last year and then got blasted in the first round. They had no business losing the last game of the season to a reeling Seahawks team, at home no less, to give up the division. Then they went on the road to play the Rams in the postseason and scored a grand total of 11 points in a 35-11 route. Then the year before that they started the year 5-2 and finished 3-6 to finish 8-8 for the year. And in 2019 they lost 7 of their last 9 games. Kingsbury's teams don't improve throughout the year in fact they have consistently gotten worse.
This is a team that lacks solid leadership and game planning from the head coach and the same could be said even more so for the quarterback. A QB that they paid $250 million dollars, a number that has handcuffed the entire team and allowed them no roster flexibility. They wrote a clause into his contract, before taking it out, that required him to watch and study film. A clause that is unheard of in other NFL contracts, something tells me that Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers don't have to be pushed to study game film. Then you go back to the play when Budda Baker got hurt last year, there was one player on the Arizona Cardinals who didn't come onto the field in support of their teammate that day. You guessed it, Kyler Murray was the only player who didn't come out to check on his teammate. There have been numerous instances on him yelling at teammates, getting into arguments, and blaming others around him when things don't go right. On top of that he is small and if you rush him the right way and keep him in the pocket he has a tough time seeing and is prone to making mistakes. He has also missed multiple games over the past two seasons, he has a lot of physical gifts with his speed and arm strength but his small frame puts him at risk of injury every week. He doesn't elevate his teammates, he gets hurt easily, and he really doesn't seem too invested in winning.
Around Murray they have a roster that really lacks talent and depth, they didn't add hardly anything in free agency other than a small bodied receiver in Marquise Brown. Their defense was good at times last year but horrid at others. Then you add into the mix that they will be without Deandre Hopkins for the first 6 games of the year due to a PED suspension. He is the straw that stirs the drink for this offense and Murray will be without his number 1 target for the first part of the year. This is the portion of the year that the team has historically thrived in, so if they can't rack up those wins early they are going to have a tough time getting to nine wins. Plus you have the added factor that the longer the season goes the more of a chance you have of Murray getting hurt.