I've got trust issues with the Arizona Cardinals.
I know they want me to believe that they are different this time. They want me to believe they've changed and learned from their past. They want me to believe that the old Cardinals are gone and this new version is here to stay.
I want to believe them but I'm just not there yet.
Sure the final score said the Cardinals beat the Jets by 20 but I watched the actual game. The Cardinals let a historically bad Jets team stay in the game until the 4th quarter. The Cardinals couldn't pull a Miami and dominate the Jets for four quarters.
The Cardinals want me to believe that Isaiah Simmons is being carefully prepped for a starring role and that patience is the only proper course of action for a rookie they still love. They want me to believe that their days of over-drafting athletic freaks and watching them go bust are behind them and this time will be different. They say it's going to take time and no preseason set the rookie back.
But I see Patrick Queen anchoring a Super Bowl caliber defense in Baltimore. He's a rookie. He's an ILB. I see Jeremy Chinn starting for a plucky Panthers team that manhandled the Cardinals. He's a rookie making a position change and he's on the field. Hell, I even see Mr. Irrelevant, Tae Crowder, the 255th pick from the 2020 NFL Draft making plays for the Giants that Isaiah Simmons isn't making for the Cardinals.
Tonight is the Isaiah Simmons game. The Cardinals should be done coddling their top 10 pick and let him sink or swim on the field. The Cardinals are woefully thin at OLB and need all the pass rushing help they can get. Let Simmons play on obvious passing downs, tell him to pin his ears back and try like hell to get to the QB. If he can't be a part of this teams pass rushing solution now, he's part of the problem.
I want to believe the Cardinals when they tell me that this offense is getting closer to firing on all cylinders. That Kyler is settling in and the wide receiver group is better than their production so far. I see an offense still way too dependent on Kyler's rushing and a wide receiver group thats struggled to get separation against substandard secondaries, outside of DeAndre Hopkins.
The Cardinals have begged me to trust them that this time the offensive line is different. Sean Kugler is a magic maker and despite watching this offensive line struggle to dominate the line of scrimmage against less talented teams that this group is more than good enough to shepard Kyler Murray and the offense to glory. They point to the fact that Kyler Murray is the least sacked QB in the league. I point to a seemingly weekly intentional grounding penalty and an offense unable to sustain any level of consistency over four straight quarters.
They've asked me to trust them, Patrick Peterson is as good as he's ever been. He's focused! He's motivated! He's hell bent on leading this defense! I see a player who hasn't been the same since a PED bust thats getting beat inside and outside by receivers he would've eaten for lunch without breaking a sweat a few years ago.
The Cardinals have tried to convince me that at 3-2, they are a playoff contender and they are based on the NFC standings. That with a win tonight, they'll be in second place in the toughest division in football with November right around the corner. I see a team that beat a shell shocked 49ers team and the WFT and Jets.
No, I'm not ready to climb into the trust tree just yet with Kliff and Co.
But if they beat the Cowboys, they can earn my trust. If they win, Ill be the one with the baggage to work on not the Cardinals.
If they can prevent Andy Dalton from picking apart their secondary. If they can contain Cooper, Gallup and Lamb. If they can physically handle the Cowboys offensive line thats starting two undrafted free agents and frustrate Ezekiel Elliot. If they can go on the road on the biggest stage of Kyler's career where he's undefeated and win. If Isaiah Simmons can at least flash for a play or two. If the Cardinals can physically match the Cowboys and beat them on Monday night, I will begin to trust them.
But for now, I'm still haunted by the old Cardinals.
I've got the Cowboys winning 38-30.