The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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1st and 10: The Cardinals End An Era In Seattle

1st: The Cardinals secret ingredient is they like each other.

  • How else do you explain this team winning two divisional games on the road, padding their NFC West lead and entering the bye week as the NFC’s 1 seed with both Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins sidelined for the entire month. Sure, this is a really well constructed roster and its a talented bunch but you have to like each other to overcome adversity as well as the Cardinals have. Think about your Thanksgiving get together - the chances of it ending poorly or well this holiday season has everything to do with whether the people gathering actually like each other. The Cardinals right now are leading the NFL in wins and good vibes.

And 10:

1. Kliff Kingsbury continues his remarkable comeback season.

  • The above cited team-wide good vibes are because of their head coach. He has created an environment of empowerment, accountability and fun that has propelled this team to the very top of the NFL. After never winning 9 games in college, Kliff has done that in his third NFL season and there's plenty of wins left in his tank. As Phoenix's uncontested top critic of Kliff Kingsbury, I salute Kliff on the coaching job he's done this season.

2. No other team in the NFL could've just pulled off what the Cardinals did.

  • Down their two most indispensable and best players in Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins, the Cardinals won two of three games and both were road W's against divisional opponents. Could the Chiefs do the same without Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill? How about the Rams without Matthew Stafford and Aaron Donald? Or the Cowboys without Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper? Ill save you the time, the answer to all of them is "No!".

3. The Cardinals last two wins might say more about the two teams they beat.

  • The 49ers beatdown was a direct indictment of their head coach; the Seahawks beatdown was a direct indictment of their franchise. John Schneider has drafted and managed the cap as poorly as anyone in the league the last few years, squandering prime year's of a Hall of Fame QB. The Jamal Adams trade is indefensible. Meanwhile, it just feels like the Pete Carroll/Russell Wilson union has run its course and whether its a GM change, a HC change, a QB change or all of the above, change is coming to Seattle.

4. DJ Humphries deserves some praise.

  • Humphries is the only Cardinals offensive player who has started all 11 games so far this season. The offensive line has been a strength most of the season because its had an anchor for the entire season. Humphries isn't going to get the same attention as other tackles but the Cardinals blind side protector for Kyler Murray has been critical for Kyler's development and the success of the offense that has followed.

5. There is no chance Larry Fitzgerald is hopping on the Cardinals this season.

  • In a cruel twist of fate, the Cardinals are the Super Bowl contender that Larry Fitzgerald should've ended his team on. In a perfect world, Fitz's legendary career doesn't end injured watched John Wolford and the Rams end the Cardinals season and his career. Instead, this is the storybook ending he deserved but alas, it didn't happen and there's no way to make it happen. There's zero chance Larry Fitzgerald would want to barge into the Cardinals season and start siphoning credit from the guys who were there Day 1 and there's also zero chance the Cardinals would want to risk everything they've built to appease an ill-fitting franchise legend in the final month or two of the season. Its absolutely bizarre that the darkest moment of most Cardinals fans fandom - the day Larry wasn't playing anymore - might end up being the catalyst for the greatest season in franchise history.

6. Matt Prater's struggles might be the only bye-week concern.

  • Two missed FG's and a missed extra point for everyone's favorite smelling salt sniffer. Prater had been nails all season but a recent change at snapper may have helped explain his struggles. There will be games that come down to a final kick and the Cardinals will need to rely on Prater, prior to this week that wasn't a concern but getting him right before the stretch run now becomes a priority.

7. Colt McCoy has a stable job for the rest of his career if he wants it.

  • McCoy has bounced around for five different teams in his 11 year NFL career but has found a permanent home in Phoenix, if he wants it. At 35 years old, he could just be the backup QB to Kyler Murray for the next 3-5 years. After his play the last few weeks, it wouldn't be a surprise if McCoy attracts some Ryan Fitzpatrick level of interest to a team with a young QB where McCoy could compete to start and then give way to the younger QB but if he doesn't want to ride that carousel, he can just buy a house and settle in the Valley.

8. Zach Ertz is really starting to pay big dividends for the Cardinals.

  • Without outsized expectations that came with his fantasy football fame and two plus years spent in the rumor mill, Zach Ertz had a pretty quiet beginning to his Cardinals career. He was fine but hadn't really emerged as a real weapon. That changed on Sunday when he helped carry the Cardinals to a win. The next trick will be finding similar on field chemistry with Kyler Murray that he's developed with Colt McCoy. If he can do that, Ertz will likely find himself in the desert for the next few years.

9. Under the Radar Stars

  • Everyone on the roster and coaching staff. In the craziest NFL season ever, the Cardinals have been the most versatile, resilient, successful team in the NFL.

10. What's Next? BYE WEEK.

  • The Cardinals are even winning on their bye week; getting a full week off during the best food holiday of the year in Thanksgiving. None of the OL have to worry about some extra pie, everyone get's a fair crack at leftovers and the teams gets quality family time during one of the most important times of the year. Cardinals will unofficially be 10-2 heading into Chicago.

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