1st: The Cardinals final drive should be the lasting impression from the game, not AJ Green.
- The Cardinals offense mostly sputtered for three quarters. Certainly a third string center may have had something to do with that. Then AJ Green committed the ultimate brain fart on the final play but it shouldn’t cloud the fact the Cardinals offense was backed up at the 1 needing a score and promptly drove 94 yards. Kyler was cool, calm and collected and his skill position guys stepped up - AJ Green, Chase Edmonds and Rondale Moore all had big plays. Being able to drive the length of the field with the game on the line is likely going to be more important than not remembering to try and catch a ball in the end zone.
1. AJ Green needed to own his mistake publicly.
- Green avoided speaking publicly after the game and made his teammates answer the tough question that only he could. I’m not worried about this creating tension in the locker room, the Cardinals are largely a drama free team, but it was still a bad look. Tell us what happened and people will generally let it go. Avoid accountability and now its a bigger story.
2. The defense also stood up when push came to shove.
- It was a rough night for the Cardinals defense with players getting big brothered by AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones all night. When the Cardinals HAD to have a stop, they got one on the goal line thanks to Devon Kennard. Now, why the Packers didn’t just run with their human pile driver out of the backfield, I don’t understand but the Cardinals made a play. It was a rough night but a good note to end on defensively.
3. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were out of their minds on Thursday night.
- While Aaron Jones touchdown was being reviewed late in the 4th quarter of a three point game, Fox’s #1 team discussed whether it was be advantageous for the Cardinals to have the TD overturned. If its overturned, more time comes off the clock and the Cardinals couldn’t win, so the logic went. IT WAS A 3 POINT GAME. Pretty big difference between a 3 point and 9 point game. It was an insane conversation that highlighted the general disinterest in believing the Cardinals were capable of going anything right which was unfortunately only validated when AJ Green decided to go full Andy Isabella on the final play.
4. Kyler’s injuries are starting to become a concern.
- He left the post game in a walking boot. He entered the game with a banged up pinky. He took two trips to the blue medical tent last Sunday. He injured his shoulder/elbow earlier this year. Normally I dismiss any talk of Kyler’s durability to lingering bias of his pre-draft narrative of being too small but Kyler’s taking some hits this year that he hasn’t taken in his previous seasons. He’s tough, skilled at avoiding contact and hard to bring down but the hits are starting to add up.
5. Rodney Hudson’s return will solve many of the problems on the OLine.
- Hudson’s absence has been felt the last few weeks, particularly by Kyler. If there was any doubt about which offseason acquisition was most important, I think we got our answer. Hudson’s physicality is sorely missed by an offensive line down to its third string center.
6. Zaven Collins injury could be bigger than you think.
- At some point, the Cardinals are going to need Collins size to flex on opposing running backs. Jordan Hicks is playing well but isn’t the physical presence Collins could be. His lack of playing time hasn’t been an issue yet and his shoulder injury might make this conversation moot but Collins could be a critical x-factor down the stretch.
7. Rondale Moore atoned for his rookie sins.
- The muffed punt and botched reception leading to an interception set up a long night for the talented rookie before he redeemed himself on the final drive. The Cardinals gave Moore a few opportunities to pick up yards on the biggest drive out of the season and he left jockstraps littering the field like they were blades of grass. I’d still like to see the Cardinals use Moore more downfield and in open space but he’s still making good things happen in his limited role.
8. Did the Cardinals miss the king of Thursday Night Football?
- This is an Andy Isabella joke. Because one time he caught a ball and ran for 88 yards two years ago on Thursday Night Football.
9. Under the Radar Stars:
- Michael Dogbe, DJ Humphries, James Conner, Byron Murphy Jr., Kelvin Beachum.
10. What’s Next? The NFL Trade Deadline.
- If the Cardinals make a move, I’m targeting a CB over a DL. Kyle Fuller, Vernon Hargreaves, AJ Bouye and Avonte Maddox to varying degrees would all be quality depth for a Cardinals secondary that will likely need it for the stretch run.