The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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1st and 10: Cardinals Humiliate the Browns

1st: The Cardinals have Kyler Murray and you don’t.

  • Kyler Murray has ascended to a new level of danger for the Arizona Cardinals. If Kyler is on the field, the Cardinals have a real chance of winning. His development this season is best told through his now signature touchdown pose - the lotus pose aka “The Baby Yoda”. The pose indicates a serenity of thought and mindfulness of one’s mind and body. Kyler is playing like he’s in the lotus pose mentally all game. His calmness in the pocket, his clarity of thought in decision making and his ability to slow the game down have turned Kyler from a raging wildfire of offensive chaos into a controlled burn of lethal focus. If Kyler’s on the field, the Cardinals have a chance to win every game they play.

And 10:

1. This was Kliff Kingsbury’s finest moment as a head coach...seriously.

  • This isn’t a shot at Kliff. Coming from someone who has taken literally every shot possible at Kliff, its definitely not a shot at Kliff. Its a compliment, a big one. The single biggest responsibility of a head coach is create a culture? What better culture to create than one that empowers other coaches, galvanizes players and brings out the best in everyone. That’s what the culture Kliff Kingsbury created showed on Sunday. Think of it this way, anyone who has ever led a team at work or run a business understands the value of being able to take a vacation and not have dozens of emails and phone calls. Kliff was able to take a week “off” and didn’t watch the building catch on fire. That’s a luxury and it reflects extremely well on Kliff.

2. This season is shaping up to be Steve Keim’s finest moment as a general manager.

  • This is the most talented team in Arizona Cardinals history. Any tie breaker goes to Kyler Murray. Keim assembled a lineup with very few obvious vulnerabilities. His free agent signings are actively helping the Cardinals transformation from ugly duckling to beautiful swan. His lowest moment, an extreme DUI arrest video was broadcast to the world so its only fair his best moment is as well.

3. Spencer Whipple was the breakout star of Week 6.

  • The 32 year old assistant receiver coach took on a large chunk of the play calling responsibilities and made the most of it. He had camping hair, looked like he was wearing yesterday’s clothes and otherwise was absolutely not ready for his NFL closeup but thankfully his play calling was ready for the runway.

4. In 2021, offenses win championships and the Cardinals offense is championship caliber.

  • Right now, only a handful of offenses really matter: Tampa Bay, Dallas, Baltimore, Kansas City, Buffalo and Arizona. The Chargers, Green Bay and everyone else are on the outside looking in.

5. Zach Ertz might disrupt the Cardinals offensive rhythm.

  • Not in a destructive way but possibly in a noticeable way. Right now, the Cardinals offense is orchestral. Adding another receiver almost feels like overkill. Ertz is fantasy football famous so the expectations are for him to regain the form that made him one of the most prolific fantasy football tight ends ever but I can’t imagine the Cardinals taking opportunities away from DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, AJ Green or Rondale Moore for him. The Cardinals season is rightfully being compared to the Suns runs from last season. Think about how things may have been different for the Suns if they added a ball dominant scorer to their lineup at last year’s trade deadline. So much of what they did was based on a natural chemistry combining with explosive talent. The Cardinals are developing that same magic formula with their current skill position players, as long as Ertz (and fantasy football managers) accepts that, the Cardinals should be fine.

6. Zaven Collins is a non-story for the Arizona Cardinals this year.

  • His lack of playing time and impact may be the biggest player surprise of the Cardinals season. His preseason performance and training camp buzz spoke of a young player ready to make an immediate impact. Now he’s barely on the field. Winning cures everything but the Cardinals are still going to need something from their first rounder before all is said and done.

7. The Cardinals defense is passing all of its early tests.

  • Receiver duos, mobile quarterbacks, power running backs and run heavy teams have all been tests facing the Cardinals defense and they are passing with flying colors. The secondary is a real weapon and their pass rushing depth is a truth as well.

8. The Cardinals dominated the toughest portion of their schedule.

  • Four of six games on the road, including three against 2020 playoff teams. Two NFC West matchups. One Super Bowl favorite. And the Cardinals are 6-0. Three games this season will likely define their position heading into the postseason: vs. Green Bay, vs. Los Angeles and @ Dallas.

9. Under the Radar Stars:

  • Markus Golden, Marco Wilson, Devon Kennard, Max Garcia, Matt Prater and James Conner.

10. What’s Next?

  • At home against the Houston Texans. The Cardinals have been scoring W’s against the Texans for the last two years and now enter Sunday’s game as more than two touchdown favorites. DeAndre Hopkins and JJ Watt will likely make sure there are no Cardinals teammates sleepwalking through what is expected to be an easy W.

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