The Arizona Cardinals are on the board. Despite allowing CJ Beathard, George Kittle,Trent Taylor, Kyle Juszczyk and every RB within a 90 mile radius to run over 90 offensive plays, the Cardinals hung on for their first victory. And yet, just like someone who wins $3 playing a lottery scratch off ticket, their problems remain because sometimes winning doesn’t actually cure anything.
1. Josh Rosen was not good. His stat line, 10/25 for 170 yards and 1 TD were largely inflated by his 75 yard touchdown pass to Christian Kirk on the Cardinals first offensive snap of the game and yet Rosen continued to impress me. He was sacked just once and despite a stagnating offense did not try and force throws. Plus, for the second game in a row he did not turn the ball over. He missed a lot of open receivers and again had several good balls dropped but Rosen continued to display the kind of maturity and decision making that indicate very good things are ahead.
2. Mike McCoy’s days are numbered, at least as far as I’m concerned. You can’t survive as an offensive coordinator if your ceiling is two effective offensive drives per game. The inevitability of the Cardinals seeking a new offensive direction becomes clearer and clearer each week and with a young QB and emerging core of skill position players, the sooner a change is made you can argue the better for everyone involved.
3. The epitaph on Mike McCoy’s soon to be erected Cardinals tombstone will say“Transformed David Johnson into the least effective RB in football.”. How do you take a player so perfectly suited for the modern NFL in David Johnson and make him look like a poor man’s Mike Alstott from the early 90’s? Mike McCoy pooped in the refrigerator and I’m not even mad, it’s amazing.
4. Last point on David Johnson - why does McCoy/Wilks refuse to insist Johnson line up as a WR for double digit snaps per game? Is it a stubborn refusal to capitulate to Bruce Arians public criticism of McCoy’s offense? Forgetfulness? Religious reasons? It's baffling and it’s going to cost him his job.
5. Now for some good news for the Cardinals offense. Christian Kirk is the real deal. Chad Williams has shown some signs of life. The ingredients are here short- and long term for the Cardinals offense to flourish. Unfortunately Cardinals head offensive chef Mike McCoy has figured out how to burn water so for now those ingredients will go to waste.
It’s far from a dominating defense but the Cardinals defensive unit is improving and that’s a very good thing for Steve Wilks.
6. Defensively, the Cardinals created 5 turnovers on Sunday and moved the ball more effectively than the Cardinals offense. The Cards defense played hard all game and we have not heard a single peep about the imbalance of weight the defense carries every single game from any defensive player. It’s far from a dominating defense but the Cardinals defensive unit is improving and that’s a very good thing for Steve Wilks.
7. Chandler Jones has put to bed any concerns about his effectiveness in the Cardinals new defensive scheme. He has been his NFL Defensive Player of the Year caliber usual self in the last few weeks.
8. Haason Reddick had a huge sack late in the game for the Cardinals and that’s now back to back weeks with a sack for the former first round draft pick. With one national report suggesting Reddick and Deone Bucannon could be on the trade block, Reddick is at least starting to carve out a situational pass rusher role for himself the team has been missing since Alex Okafor’s departure. While it’s not the kind of role that justifies being the 13th overall pick, it’s at least a start.
9. Silver linings: The Cardinals are not the Phoenix Suns.
With zero expectations to win and another important learning opportunity for Josh Rosen it will be interesting to see whether the Cardinal scan pull off another weird NFL upset in an NFL season marked by weird NFL upsets.
10. What’s next: Road trip to Minneapolis to take on the Vikings. Minnesota just beat the Eagles in Philly but have a slew of issues on their offensive line. Considering the Vikings already lost to the Buffalo Bills at home, I can’t imagine the Cardinals are going to get anything less than their best shot. With zero expectations to win and another important learning opportunity for Josh Rosen it will be interesting to see whether the Cardinal scan pull off another weird NFL upset in an NFL season marked by weird NFL upsets.