Today, we are the furthest point from another NFL game that we will be all year. Its sobering and a reminder that we now have a ton of time to overthink every decision the Arizona Cardinals make this offseason.
So what can the Cardinals organization learn from this year's Super Bowl featuring the greatest QB of all time in Tom Brady and a counterpart so freakishly gifted that his incompletions were arguably the most impressive on field performance of the evening?
I've boiled Super Bowl 55 into three distinct lessons that the Cardinals should carry with them into this offseason. Three simple reminders for a team that has won two playoff games since making their own Super Bowl appearance in the 2008 season.
1. Build. The. Lines.
- The Kansas City Chiefs offense has arguably the most explosive trio of playmakers in modern NFL history and against the Bucs, they were mostly useless. The Chief offensive line was ravaged by injury and didn't have the bodies to step in and step up in the Super Bowl. On the other side, the Buccaneers offensive line was fortified with rookie LT Tristan Wirfs and the defensive line with 2018 first round pick Vita Vea. You are not going to win in the NFL without winning at the point of attack on both sides of the ball, something the Cardinals have historically struggled with. It's not about scheme or skill position talent, it's about big dudes up front. Last year the Cardinals whiffed by passing on a likely long term starter on the O-Line in the first round to draft Isaiah Simmons. They can't make the same mistake this season. Drafting a G or C at 16 overall would be the Cardinals best bet to emulate a Super Bowl team.
2. Leadership Matters.
- Bruce Arians engenders the kind of staff loyalty that most coaches can only dream of. Tom Brady's most impressive feat as the GOAT is his superhuman leadership qualities. The Cardinals have a head coach who would rather be your friend than bark at you and a quarterback still fully realizing what leadership means at the highest level. When will the Cardinals accept that their on field and front office leadership is simply not up to the standard of NFL teams playing in the Super Bowl? Owner Michael Bidwill released a video on social media today where he expressed support, AGAIN, for the teams leadership. Until this changes, the Cardinals postseason fate will not.
3. Prioritize a Tight End This Offseason
- The Cardinals offense showed a lot of troubling signs late in 2020, especially when it came to the simplicity of defending against Kliff Kingbury's scheme. While Coach Kliff tries to improve the team's fate offensively next season, wouldn't that job be easier if the Cardinals prioritized a big, play making tight end? Dan Arnold and Maxx Williams were fine but the Cardinals should be looking for a player who can do both of their jobs. Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith would be interesting free agent targets for the Cardinals to pursue. The Cardinals might not be able to duplicate Brady's uncanny leadership or Mahomes's singular talents but they could copy both teams use of the tight end.