In our ongoing imaginary feud, Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury decided to schedule 90% of all training camp practices on weekday mornings when I'm hosting my show. As such, I haven't been able to attend Cardinals training camp the way I have for the previous seven years which would allow me to make informed opinions with my own eyes.
Instead, I'm relying on others to tell me what's happening and hoping to still figure out training camp hype from truth.
Training camp is a peculiar thing. Its not that media members lie or exaggerate what they are seeing, its just that so little actually happens that anything remotely resembling news turns into a much bigger story than we would normally see.
A player makes a nice catch? Breakout season coming! Defensive player makes a play in the backfield? Impact defender in the making!
So much of training camp is just standing around watching dudes go through the motions that it distorts your perspective on what is or isn't actual news.
From my perch of objectivity far from the monotonous glory of training camp, here is our first installment of Cardinals Training Camp Storylines: Fact or Fiction
1. The Cardinals have their most talented roster in years.
- Fact - The Cardinals 22 starters are a clear upgrade over the last three or four seasons however depth remains a real issue thanks to Steve Keim's draft record.
2. Cornerback depth is not a problem heading into the season.
- Fiction - Robert Alford, Marco Wilson, Darqueze Dennard, Malcolm Butler and Byron Murphy is still a fairly motley crew in a league predicated on passing. If the Cardinals needed just one to splash, they'd be in decent shape. The Cardinals need three of these players, most of whom are either rookies or veterans on one year contracts to shine. The first two weeks the Cardinals face AJ Brown, Julio Jones, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. Good luck.
3. Rondale Moore is going to be a breakout star as a rookie.
- Fact - With an asterisk. Moore was a dynamo for Purdue as a freshman before injuries took most of the wind out of his sails the next two years. If Moore can stay on the field, the opportunities in this offense will be ample. Prior to his disappearance last season, Andy Isabella was being force fed a steady dose of end arounds, screens and deep balls. The only problem is Sweet Andy couldn't catch, make anyone miss or find the ball in mid air. Moore will inherit those opportunities and then some and is capable of doing all three. Buckle up.
4. The Cardinals supporting cast is the best it's been in Kyler Murray's young career.
- Fact - Heading into year three, Kyler Murray has never really had a #2 WR. AJ Green, Christian Kirk in a contract year and Rondale Moore hope to change that. While questions remain about the Cardinals WR depth, Green and Moore specifically upgrade the options for Kyler in the receiving game. Meanwhile, James Conner and Chase Edmonds give the young QB plenty of help out of the backfield. Throw in an offensive line anchored by an actual NFL Center in Rodney Hudson and largely devoid of a glaring weakness and the sky is the limit for Kyler Murray.
5. Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons are ready for primetime.
- Fiction - This couldn't possibly be true after just a few weeks of training camp. Simmons remains very much an outside pass rusher masquerading as an inside linebacker heading into Year 2. Collins looks like the real deal but with so much on his plate and a small margin for error with a playoff hopeful team, odds are his struggles will be magnified more than his steadiness. It remains highly unlikely the Cardinals will see the kind of payoff they want from their two first round picks in 2021.
6. Kliff Kingsbury is settling in nicely in his third season leading the Cardinals.
- Fiction - I couldn't let an entire Cardinals post pass without a shot at Kliff. The Jordan Hicks saga revealed yet another glimpse into Kingsbury's soft grip on this team. This is of course by design as Steve Keim wields an unusual amount of power for a general manager with a checkered at best track record. The Hicks saga also reinforced that the coach most suited to lead this team is in fact defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.