It's kind of amazing how much it means that the Cardinals just lost a guy who's been in Arizona for a year, but has yet to play a snap for the team. Nonetheless, Robert Alford's season-ending pectoral injury is a vicious blow to a secondary that was second-last in passing yards given up in 2019.
Steve Keim, for all the good he's done this offseason, had a blind spot for the cornerback position in free agency. Alford, who missed last season with a broken leg, was being depended on to be one of the league's better No. 2 cornerbacks, the same way he was at his last stop for the Atlanta Falcons. Now, the Cardinals will depend on a revolving door of could-be's and will-never-be's to take Alford's place.
But, there's hope.
Arizona has about $5 million in cap space, money left aside specifically for emergencies. Veteran cornerbacks Dre Kirkpatrick, Aqib Talib, Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr and Logan Ryan are all still available in free agency. Perhaps one of them will be desperate enough to take a discount, or Steve Keim can do one of his deferred-money, two-year specialty deals.
Another reason for belief? Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Allen, whoever starts for New England, Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins. Those are the seven quarterbacks not named Matthew Stafford that the Cardinals face in their out-of-division games this year. Stafford, for the record, is coming off a back injury, and the Lions were the only pass defense worse than the Cardinals last year.
Plus, this season was never really about dominating, or even winning 10 games for the Cardinals. The defense, for its part, is in the middle of a rebuild. The 49ers are set for another division win. The Seahawks are in win-now mode with the league's second-best quarterback. The Rams went 9-7 in a down year last season.
This season is about developing Kyler Murray, and seeing where that leaves the Cardinals.
On that front, everything's hunky dory, for now.