Week 1 can be the ultimate mirage. Successes can turn to failures, strengths to weaknesses and narratives flipped upside down by the end of the second week of football.
And at the same time, Week 1 can be the ultimate fortune teller. Last year in week 1, the San Francisco 49ers upset the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and would go on to win the NFC. The Baltimore Ravens blitzed the Dolphins en route to the best record in the AFC. And the Tennessee Titans stunned the Cleveland Browns foretelling both the Titans success and the Browns season long failure.
Week two tends to add clarity to a season. Most 2-0 teams have a good chance to make the playoffs and most 0-2 teams don't.
So what will week two tell us about the 2020 Cardinals? A lot in my opinion, such as:
Is the O-Line really up to the challenge?
- Between last week against the 49ers and this week versus the Washington Football Team, the Cardinals offensive line will face ten (10!) first round defensive lineman. Not defensive players. Defensive lineman. The 49ers had Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, Javon Kinlaw and Dee Ford. Washington's front has Chase Young, Montez Sweat, DaRon Payne, Jonathan Allen and Ryan Kerrigan. This week, the Cardinals will be without starting Center Mason Cole. If the offensive line can avoid a total implosion then OLine Island is going to quickly become Air Raid Paradise.
Can Christian Kirk consistently make plays?
- While Andy Isabella continues to be wrapped in a protective cocoon by the organization with no excuse too ridiculous to explain his continued failings at doing ANYTHING on the field, the spotlight turns to Christian Kirk. I thought DeAndre Hopkins presence would benefit Christian Kirk the most of any player on the field but instead he suffered the most. Catching just one pass for zero yards, Kirk may as well have swapped jersey's with Isabella pre-game. While Hopkins performance was magnificent, he's going to need some help at some point. It may not be needed against Washington's porous secondary but that doesn't mean a Kirk breakout wouldn't be appreciated.
Will Kyler Murray be able to do it when it's expected to be done?
- Kyler showed me last week that he's not a conditional quarterback. He doesn't need a perfect combination of things to succeed like his Week 1 counterpart Jimmy G. Kyler is part of the exclusive club of unconditional quarterbacks. He can play poorly for three plus quarters and still make enough plays to win. He can deal with a bad offensive line or disappointing performances from skill position players and still deliver success. Now for the first time in his young career, he's going to experience the difference between managing expectations and fulfilling them. He's already claimed he doesn't get hungover from wins so something tells me he's going to be just fine.
Was Isaiah Simmons Week 1 performance an indication of what's to come as a rookie?
- Simmons was not good, at all, in Week 1 no matter how the team would like to spin it. Kyle Shanahan basically got out a cartoon fork and knife and scraped them together while shouting "Dinner time!" every time Simmons was on the field. Combine that with his robotic Red/White scrimmage performance and we have yet to see a moment from Simmons that screams "So THAT'S why they drafted him 8th overall!" Of course, there's plenty of time for that moment and it could come this week against old friend Logan Thomas. Thomas, who Cardinals fans briefly hyperventilated over in 2014 as the future of the Cardinals QB, is now a journeyman TE and second best receiving option for Washington QB Dwayne Haskins. In other words, Thomas ain't George Kittle. And Antonio Gibson isn't Raheem Mostert. Simmons needs to be put into a position to succeed to gain some confidence and that opportunity could come against a weak Washington offense. If Simmons is exposed by Washington, there will start to be a little more attention paid Meckhi Becton, Tristan Wirfs and Jedrick Wills here in Phoenix.