Mason Thompson |Aug 17th, 2019
2018 was a forgetful year for the Cardinals. The team only won three games with two coming against the 49ers who were the second-worst team in the league, while the Cardinals were the worst. Their other win came against the Green Bay Packers which forced the Packers to fire Mike McCarthy. The team was plagued by terrible offensive play and an abysmal offensive line. The team is under a full rebuild and will look completely different this year with Steve Wilks fired and replaced by Kliff Kingsbury bringing in a whole new dimension the NFL has never seen.
Steve Wilks and Josh Rosen were replaced by Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray. Marcus Gilbert was brought in to at least try to make the offensive line competent. Jordan Hicks, Terrell Suggs, and Robert Alford were brought in to help the defense which is now run by former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph. Murray was selected with the first selection in April’s draft which led to the trade of Josh Rosen. The way Rosen was traded couldn’t have gone any worse for the Cardinals as they got minimal value in return for the former top-ten pick. Murray will be helped with the selections of Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, and KeeSean Johnson. Joseph’s defense gets a boost from Byron Murphy, Zach Allen, and Deionte Thompson. The offensive line was still not addressed other than some late-round dart throws.
Kingsbury will hope to turn around an offense that only recorded 14 points per game which was the worst in the league. David Johnson will look to bounce back after a year where he was practically the whole offense. Both Murray and Johnson will need to be given more protection from the offensive line for the team to be successful. It will be interesting to see how Kingsbury implements a college offense to the NFL where he also wants the offense to run no-huddle for most of the game.
Joseph inherits a defense that has undergone a makeover in the offseason. The defense will be without Patrick Peterson for the first half of the season due to a PED suspension. Former first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche was released recently after a disappointing campaign since he was drafted. Haason Reddick will need to show why the team used a first-round pick on him as well so that he doesn’t end up on a different team like Nkemdiche currently is. The team will need to get off to a strong shot for the return of Peterson to really make an impact.
53 Man Roster Prediction
QB (2) Kyler Murray, Brett Hundley
Murray was hand-picked by Kingsbury as the quarterback to run his system. He will be the driving force of the offense and could take the league by storm as the league has never seen anything like him. Hundley is the clear-cut backup and still needs to develop after his time in Green Bay.
RB (3) David Johnson, Chase Edmonds, T.J. Logan
Edmonds had a great game against the Green Bay Packers last year showing he has a skill set that could be used alongside Johnson whenever he needs a break. Logan beats out a room full of strangers in Dontae Strickland, D.J. Foster, and Wes Hills for the last running back spot.
WR (7) Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, KeeSean Johnson, Trent Sherfield, Kevin White
Fitzgerald, Kirk, and Sherfield holdover from the previous year with Sherfield’s impressive preseason thus far. Isabella, Butler, and Johnson are intriguing in Kingsbury’s offense that could all play multiple roles in the offense. Kevin White latches on to the final receiver spot.
One of the league’s most crowded rooms with Seals-Jones, Clay, and Williams all serving a role in different team’s offenses last year. Wilson was this year’s Mr. Irrelevant and a great final pick. The UCLA product should make the team and push for playing time in Kingsbury’s offense.
OL (9) D.J. Humphries, Justin Pugh, Mason Cole, J.R. Sweezy, Marcus Gilbert, Rees Odhiambo, Lamont Gaillard, Colby Gossett, Korey Cunningham
Sweezy and Gilbert were acquired during the offseason to try and shore up the right side of the line to give Murray some time to throw. Pugh was given a big contract and hasn’t lived up to it. Odhiambo could be a good addition if anything were to happen to any of the starting five.
This group still needs a lot of improvement as Peters is over 30 and Gunter has potential but has only had one good season last year. Dogbe is an intriguing prospect from Temple who should get a significant number of snaps this year.
LB (4) Jordan Hicks, Haason Reddick, Joe Walker, Tanner Vallejo
Hicks was signed during the offseason to fill the role in the middle of the defense. Reddick can play inside or on the edge but needs to show why he was drafted in the first round coming out of Temple. Walker and Vallejo round out a group that needs more depth behind Hicks and Reddick.
Suggs, Allen, and Reed were all additions in the offseason to keep some of the load off of Jones from being the only one generating any pass rush. Allen can play on the edge or on the interior defensive line.
With Peterson being suspended to open the season and Alford likely heading to injured reserve, the Cardinals will have to rely on Murphy and Brock as well as unknowns to round out the position. It is likely that the team will try to shore up some depth to the position before the start of the regular season.
Baker and Swearinger will be the starters. Deionte Thompson could push for Swearinger’s job in the middle of the season if he impresses while Jalen Thompson was taken in the Supplemental Draft.
ST (3) Zane Gonzalez, Andy Lee, Aaron Brewer
After going through several kickers last year, the Cardinals appear to have found their guy in Gonzalez. Lee was one of the bright spots in a terrible 2018 campaign, while Brewer is an adequate long snapper who won’t cause problems.
The Cardinals will surprise a lot of people but there is a huge concern on the lack of depth on this team, especially on the offensive line, as well as the linebacker, and cornerback positions.
5-11, Miss out on the playoffs and build around Murray.
Questions and comments?
Follow Us on Twitter @thescorecrow
Follow Us on Reddit at u/TheScorecrow
Follow Us on Facebook at The Scorecrow
Follow Us on Instagram at The Scorecrow
Facebook Group where you can read and post articles at The Scorecrow
Reddit Group where everyone can post without fear of being banned at The Scorecrow
Follow Mason Thompson on Twitter @Thompson22Mason
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images