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Cheap Nike Arizona Cardinals Patrick Peterson Jersey 2020

There is a famous gif of Bruce Arians whipping his head around in surprise when a Authentic Patrick Peterson Jersey touchdown was taken off the board in the 2015 playoffs.

Authentic Devon Kennard Jersey channeled that reaction in the middle of March, when word leaked that the Cardinals were trading for superstar Authentic DeAndre Hopkins Jersey.

“To be honest, I couldn’t believe it,” said the veteran outside linebacker, who agreed to a deal with the Cardinals a few days later. “I was like, ‘How the heck did that happen?'”

The addition of Hopkins was the opening salvo in an encouraging start to the league year for Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim. Kennard, defensive tackle Authentic Jordan Phillips Jersey and inside linebacker Authentic DeVondre Campbell Jersey were subsequently added in free agency, as the roster’s four glaring needs were quickly filled with known quantities.

Pro Football Focus has the Cardinals atop their list of most improved teams this offseason, while several analysts at ESPN lauded Keim for his decisions.

“I feel very good (about the roster),” Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said. “There’s obviously a lot more work to be done. The draft will be an important part of our addition of player talent. And then it always seems like, after the draft, there are always some late signings as we get closer to camp. So there are still a few more steps as we get closer, but I like on paper how it’s come together.”

Outside linebacker Authentic Chandler Jones Jersey arrived in Arizona heading into the 2016 season, when expectations were sky-high. The team didn’t live up to them that year and hasn’t had a winning season since, but his eagerness for 2020 is matching the outside vibe of raised expectations.

“I’m excited, honestly,” Jones said on ‘On The Fly’ with Lisa Matthews. “I believe in our front office and what they’re doing. As you can see, what we look like right now looks amazing, and we still have a whole draft ahead.”

The Cardinals began to find their bearings at the end of 2019, winning two of their final three games while playing efficiently on both sides of the ball. Coach Kliff Kingsbury proved he was not in over his head at the NFL level, and the pain of 2018 slowly shifted to hope moving forward.

“I think it’s a young team with a lot of opportunity,” Kennard said. “I like what coach Kingsbury is doing here, and I’m excited about the direction of the program, and what we’ll be able to accomplish this year.”

Even though the Cardinals only won five games a season ago, there is momentum because of the roster upgrades, the expected maturation of quarterback Authentic Kyler Murray Jersey and the return of key cogs like Authentic Larry Fitzgerald Jersey, Authentic D.J. Humphries Jersey and Authentic Kenyan Drake Jersey.

“We’re bringing all of these pieces together, and it’s an awesome opportunity for us, and it puts us in position to (have a winning season),” quarterback Authentic Brett Hundley Jersey said. “Keim is doing an awesome job bringing all these pieces together, but at the same time, we have to go out there and execute. We can have the best roster that looks good, but if we if don’t’ execute, there’s really nothing to it.”

It’s easy to get out over your skiis during the offseason, when optimism runs rampant. That’s why Hundley cautions that there are still obstacles, and that the process can take time.

“We want to win the Super Bowl,” Hundley said. “That’s everybody’s goal. But at the same time, we have to understand that it’s a young offense. It’s still a young coaching staff. It’s still a young mesh of players coming together, and we’re building. Rather than understanding we’re already there, we’re still building, and we’re trying to put everything together.”

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Let’s take a look at the Arizona Cardinals’ roster position by position as we near the NFL free agency period that can lead to signing beginning on Wednesday, March 18, at 1 p.m.

At defensive back, reinforcements are incoming. But improvement needs to be drastic.

The basics
Players under contract: S Budda Baker, CB Patrick Peterson, CB Robert Alford, DB Byron Murphy, S Jalen Thompson, S Deionte Thompson, CB Chris Jones, CB Jalen Davis, CB Andre Chachere, CB Authentic Sojourn Shelton Jersey (futures), CB Authentic Duke Thomas Jersey (futures)

Free agents: CB Kevin Peterson (restricted), CB Brandon Williams, S Chris Banjo, S Charles Washington (restricted)

What we know
Let us not review the Arizona Cardinals’ league-worst pass defense for the umpteenth time. It was bad — very bad.

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Now that’s out of the way, and we can explain why it was bad and why Arizona might feel like it can get better. Patrick Peterson was suspended for six games and didn’t click back into Pro Bowl form until the final three games. Robert Alford, who was supposed to be the Cardinals’ long-term No. 2 corner, got hurt and missed the entire season after arguably being one of the best defensive players in training camp.

If they’re healthy, throw second-year pro Byron Murphy in the slot, and there’s good talent to work with. Fellow cornerback Chris Jones held up well in his first year of NFL action and Kevin Peterson, if he’s brought back, showed signs he can fill in as nice depth as well.

Big question: Is there enough S depth to significantly improve?
It seems there’s enough depth to survive even an injury or two at cornerback. Murphy didn’t exactly get better as the season went on as teams more and more went at him while he was outside. But he should be more prepared in his sophomore year, whether he’s forced to play multiple positions and especially if he can stick inside where Arizona feels he’s best suited.

Safety is where the concerns lie. Backup Josh Shaw was the No. 2 in camp but got hurt before finding himself in an NFL betting scandal. That, combined with veteran D.J. Swearinger getting waived midseason, allowed young players like safety Jalen Thompson to gain experience. The supplemental draft pick flashed, posting two of his three best PFF-graded games in the final three weeks of the year.

Fellow rookie Deionte Thompson, a fifth-round pick, could provide depth behind him, but there’s a chance Arizona can look at the free agent market to bolster the safety group led by Pro Bowler Budda Baker.

Anthony Harris, Justin Simmons, Jimmie Ward, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Vonn Bell, Devin McCourty and Damarious Randall are among the expensive-to-second-tier free agent safeties who will hit the market. Like the Cardinals did two years ago with a late signing of safety Tre Boston, however, the positional value doesn’t match the financial desires of the players. There’s a chance to add depth here later in free agency to get a capable player on a smaller deal.

The Cardinals, after all, likely want to invest in Baker’s future beyond 2020, when his rookie deal comes to an end. Considering his rise, that might be pricey.

So could an extension for Peterson if Arizona locks him in contractually before 2020 or wants to re-enter negotiations after seeing if he’s still got it in his 10th NFL season.

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The Cardinals are hoping for a major turnaround in 2020 behind quarterback Kyler Murray, but the roster still needs to be upgraded. General Manager Steve Keim has some cap space this offseason and will aim to plug holes on both sides of the ball. We will break down each position group leading up to free agency, which begins with the legal tampering period on Monday, March 16.

Free agent primer: Cornerback

Other positional primers: LB I WR I DL I QB I TE I S I RB I ST I OL

Cap hit of players under contract for 2020 (via OverTheCap.com): Patrick Peterson ($13.18 million); Robert Alford ($7.5 million); Byron Murphy($1.82 million); Chris Jones ($660,000); Jalen Davis ($660,000); Authentic Andre Chachere Jersey ($510,000).

Scheduled free agents: Kevin Peterson (restricted); Brandon Williams.

Need: Low

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Analysis: The Cardinals were one of the worst teams in the NFL against the pass last season, which would normally point to a reboot in the secondary, but that might not be the case. Authentic Patrick Peterson Jersey missed the first six games of the season and was subpar upon his return, but improved mightily down the stretch. If Peterson is back to his Pro Bowl form, the Cardinals have a shutdown corner on one side of the field.

Authentic Robert Alford Jersey signed a multi-year deal in free agency last offseason and looked worthy of it in training camp, but broke his leg in a collision with Damiere Byrd and missed the whole season. If he has a clean bill of health heading into 2020, Alford should slide in to the other outside cornerback spot.

Authentic Byron Murphy Jersey had some issues as a rookie but will be counted on to settle in at slot corner with Alford on the outside. Much is expected of the No. 33 overall pick from last year’s draft. If the three top spots are filled as projected, the Cardinals wouldn’t have a dire need for another cornerback in free agency.

While big names like Byron Jones and Chris Harris are impending free agents, the signing of a marquee player seems unlikely unless there is a corresponding move at the position.

The Cardinals could be in search of depth, whether that’s bringing back restricted free agent Kevin Peterson or looking at other options. Authentic Chris Jones Jersey will compete for one of the backup roles, while Authentic Jalen Davis Jersey and Andre Chachere hope to make an offseason impression.

Notable past free agent cornerback signings: Alford (2019); Bené Benwikere (2018); Tramon Williams (2017); Antonio Cromartie (2014); Jerraud Powers (2013); Antoine Cason (2013); William Gay (2012); Bryant McFadden (2009); Roderick Hood (2007); Ralph Brown (2007); David Macklin (2004); Duane Starks (2002).

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After a breakout year with the Arizona Cardinals in 2019, inside linebacker Joe Walker is on the move. He will not be leaving the NFC West, however, as he reportedly agreed to terms with the San Francisco 49ers on a one-year deal per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Tom Pelissero

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The #49ers are signing LB Authentic Joe Walker Jersey to a one-year deal, source said. Walker took a first-round pick’s job last year, started 11 games and had 65 tackles for the #Cardinals. Now, he stays in the NFC West.

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Walker overtook Haason Reddick for a starting inside linebacker position based on snap counts, playing 40 compared to Reddick’s 36 in a 31-9 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 8 last season. Then, on Oct. 29, Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said Walker “earned” the right to start at the position alongside Jordan Hicks in the team’s base 3-4 defense over the former first-round pick Reddick, who was subsequently converted to outside linebacker.

The Cardinals acquired Walker on Sept. 19, 2018, signing him from the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squad. After appearing in 14 games with no starts in Arizona that year, Walker exceeded expectations in 2019 playing in all 16 games and starting 11. He finished the year with 63 tackles (38 solo), five tackles for loss, one quarterback hit and one forced fumble. He also had seven special teams tackles (five solo) in a familiar role as a core member of that unit.

Walker played in 537 defensive snaps (47.4 percent) and 324 special teams snaps (70.43 percent) of the Cardinals total plays last season. He made $645,000 on his contract with the Cardinals last year per OverTheCap.com.

After Arizona agreed to terms with inside linebacker Authentic DeVondre Campbell Jersey (Atlanta Falcons), Walker wasn’t a priority. However, the franchise would have gained an important depth piece had they re-signed him. Now, the 49ers acquire a capable player with experience from a division rival.

We will see if that decision haunts the Cardinals next season. Other inside linebackers on the depth chart at the end of the season were Authentic Dennis Gardeck Jersey, Ezekiel Turner and Authentic Keishawn Bierria Jersey.

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The Cardinals are retaining another couple of depth pieces to the roster, agreeing Tuesday to one-year deals with offensive lineman Authentic Max Garcia Jersey and safety/special teamer Authentic Charles Washington Jersey.

Garcia,a free-agent signee in 2019, was coming off an ACL tear and spent the first part of the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list. He ended up appearing in seven games, but only played 30 snaps, all on special teams.

He has significant experience on the offensive line, having starting two full seasons when he played for the Broncos in 2016 and 2017.

The Cards are still building up the depth on the line — Garcia is the 10th offensive lineman currently on the roster, behind starters Authentic D.J. Humphries Jersey, Authentic Justin Pugh Jersey, Authentic Mason Cole Jersey, Authentic J.R. Sweezy Jersey and Authentic Justin Murray Jersey, along with Authentic Lamont Gaillard Jersey, Authentic Brett Toth Jersey, Authentic Joshua Miles Jersey and Authentic Sam Jones Jersey.

The Cardinals also are expected to use draft capital on the offensive line, including a potential starting right tackle with the No. 8 pick overall.

Washington was claimed off waivers from the Lions following final preseason cuts in 2019. In 12 games, Washington did not play a defensive snap but logged 212 snaps on special teams. He is entering his fourth season in the NFL.

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METAIRIE, La. — Michael Thomas’ 274 catches over the past two years? Remarkable, ridiculous, unprecedented.

The fact that no other New Orleans Saints wide receiver has more than 47 catches combined over the past two seasons? Well, that’s a problem.

The Saints scored by adding pass-catching tight end Jared Cook in free agency last year. But they haven’t been so lucky at wide receiver — despite kicking the tires on guys like Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall and Cameron Meredith over the past two years and using a third-round draft pick on Tre’Quan Smith in 2018.

This is the year they need to fix that.

Michael Thomas has 274 catches over the past two seasons, but other Saints receivers have had little production. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
This year’s NFL draft class is loaded with high-end receiver talent — with seven or eight guys in the mix to become first-round draft picks. So the Saints could possibly land someone like Clemson’s Tee Higgins if he falls to them with the No. 24 pick (as he did in ESPN analyst Todd McShay’s latest mock draft).

Or they could pounce in free agency or the trade market — where price tags for wide receivers might be depressed a little bit because of that loaded draft class.

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis declined to label the wide receiver position as a “must” priority when he met the media during the Senior Bowl last month. And he insisted that the Saints like their young receiver depth — which includes possible expanded roles next season for undrafted 2019 rookies Emmanuel Butler, Lil’Jordan Humphrey and All-Pro kick returner Deonte Harris.

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“I think we have a group of wide receivers that we really like,” Loomis said. “We’re in the business of improving our team any way we can. And your question [about wide receiver being a top priority] is a good one. And yet part of that is dictated by what becomes available and how do we fit it in our roster. Those are questions and answers; we’re not there yet. We’ve got a long way to go here.”

But none of the young receivers on the current roster is a No. 2. Smith hasn’t developed into one so far, with just 18 catches in the 2019 regular season and none in their playoff loss to the Minnesota Vikings. And the closest thing New Orleans has had to a No. 2 over the past three years, veteran Ted Ginn Jr., will become an unrestricted free agent in March. He turns 35 in April.

So, yeah, it’s a must.

The Saints were able to make due well enough over the past two regular seasons to go 13-3 each year — leaning heavily on Thomas, running back Alvin Kamara and Cook. But their lack of reliable wide receivers really hurt them in each of their past two playoff exits.

New Orleans’ two biggest pass plays in its 26-20 overtime loss to the Vikings last month were a 20-yard TD pass from Drew Brees to third-string quarterback Taysom Hill and a 50-yard pass from Hill to Harris (who had a total of six catches for 24 yards in the regular season).

In the previous year’s NFC Championship Game loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the Saints’ two touchdown passes were caught by Hill and seldom-used tight end Garrett Griffin — who has only one other catch in his career. Earlier in that game, undrafted tight end Authentic Dan Arnold Jersey dropped a pass in the end zone. And the infamous missed pass interference call toward the end of the game came on a pass intended for seldom-used receiver/kick returner Tommylee Lewis.

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The Saints probably don’t have enough ammunition to target an elite receiver this offseason. They’re already slammed against the salary cap. They don’t pick until 24th in Round 1 of the draft, and they don’t have a second-round pick. So free agents such as Amari Cooper and A.J. Green and top draft prospects such as Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb might be out of reach.

But the Saints don’t need another version of Thomas, necessarily. They just need another reliable target — preferably someone who can line up in the slot and catch the kind of high-percentage, midrange throws that Brees has been feasting on in recent years.

Think Lance Moore and Willie Snead types.

Even if Brees retires, potential replacement QB Teddy Bridgewater has also proved to be more of a high-percentage thrower so far in his career. So a free agent who plays a lot in the slot, such as Emmanuel Sanders, Randall Cobb, Danny Amendola or even Nelson Agholor might make more sense financially than downfield threats such as Robby Anderson or Breshad Perriman.

Likewise in the draft, a big target such as the 6-foot-4 Higgins might make more sense than a burner like Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III.

But let’s face it — the Saints could probably benefit from any of the above, as well as potential first-round draft picks such as Colorado’s Laviska Shenault Jr., LSU’s Justin Jefferson, Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk, TCU’s Jalen Reagor or several other prospects.

Because as spectacular as “Can’t Guard Mike” has been for the Saints, guarding Mike is exactly what defenses will keep trying to do unless the Saints give them someone else to worry about.

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The Arizona Cardinals may have been the worst team in the NFL last season, but the team doesn’t have the worst fans.

Emory professor Michael Lewis, a professor of marketing and faculty director of the Emory Marketing Analytics Center at the Goizueta Business School, recently released his annual ranking of NFL fan bases and the Cardinals’ fans come in at No. 25.

They also came in at No. 25 in 2018.

In 2015, Cardinals fans were ranked No. 19. In 2016, they slipped to No. 25. In 2017, they were No. 27.

Hey, at least it’s not No. 32.

That spot belongs to Arizona’s NFC West rivals, the Los Angeles Rams.

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The Los Angeles Chargers, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs are the other teams whose fan bases are ranked behind the Cardinals.

How did he come up with the rankings?

Lewis wrote that he used “data on attendance, revenues, social media following and road attendance to develop statistical models of fan interest.”

Lewis added that he used those models to determine which fan bases “are more willing to spend or follow their teams after controlling for factors like market size and short-term changes in winning and losing.”
MORE: Long-suffering Cardinals, Suns, Coyotes fans still awaiting title

Lewis said that he used three measures of fan engagement to craft his list: fan equity (which he described as home box office revenues), social equity (which he described as engagement level in social media communities) and road equity (which he described as measured fan support on the road). Then, using those three components, Lewis generated what he called a “Brand Equity Factor” to rank all 32 teams.

Of the bottom five teams in the rankings, Lewis wrote: “These teams all suffer from the same issues,” Lewis wrote, “relatively weak pricing power and limited social followings.”

The top fan bases in the NFL, according to Lewis’ study are the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers.

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A breakdown of the Arizona Cardinals’ 2019 free-agent signings.

Terrell Suggs, linebacker

The Cardinals will sign Suggs to a one-year deal worth up to $7 million, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Here’s a closer look at the linebacker who spent the previous 16 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens:

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What it means: The Cardinals found a veteran in the 36-year-old Suggs who can immediately establish himself as a stabilizing presence in the locker room after Arizona released veteran safety Antoine Bethea over the weekend. In Suggs, Arizona will also get a durable pass-rusher who, while he may end up on limited snap counts, has shown he’s still effective at getting to the quarterback. He had 26 sacks the last three seasons, including seven in 2018 and 11 in 2017.

What’s the risk: Suggs will turn 37 on Oct. 11, and even though he’s played all 16 games in 12 of his 16 seasons — and 15 in one and 13 in another — age will still be a concern with him this season. But the reward with Suggs is greater than the risk because of his recent production rushing the passer. However, if the Cardinals count on Suggs too much on defense, instead of relying on him to be part of the rotation, and his age finally catches up to him, then the Cardinals could see the risk sooner than the reward.

J.R. Sweezy, guard

The Cardinals will sign guard J.R. Sweezy to a two-year deal on Wednesday. Here’s a closer look at the guard who spent five of the previous seven seasons with the Seattle Seahawks:

What it means: The Cardinals found their replacement for Mike Iupati at left guard. Sweezy started 13 of his 15 games in 2018 at left guard and will give Arizona the final piece of its 2019 offensive line. Sweezy moved from right guard, where he played the majority of his career, to left guard before last season. He’s another veteran offensive line signing for Cardinals general manager Steve Keim, continuing a run that’s lasted most of Keim’s tenure as GM. In 2018, Sweezy allowed a career-low 19 hurries and 26 pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.

What’s the risk: Sweezy missed all of 2016 with a herniated disc, so his health would be a concern. When he’s healthy, Sweezy is durable. Another risk is that he turns 30 in April, so Sweezy may not be a long-term answer at left guard, leaving the Cardinals in the same situation either next year or in 2021.

Brett Hundley, quarterback

The Cardinals will sign quarterback Brett Hundley to a one-year deal on Wednesday. Here’s a closer look at the quarterback who spent last season with the Seahawks:

What it means: It’s too early to tell. It’ll all depend on who else the Cardinals have at quarterback next season. If it’s Josh Rosen, then Hundley and could help be part of Rosen’s support group along with Charles Kanoff. Rosen followed Hundley as UCLA’s starter, so the two have a history. If it’s, by chance, Kyler Murray, then Hundley may fit the type of athletic quarterback that new coach Kliff Kingsbury is looking for.

What’s the risk: There’s really not much risk at all, unless Hundley needs to play at length. But that’s more because he won’t be the everyday quarterback. He’s 3-6 as a starter, he’s thrown for nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his career and has 1,853 yards while tallying a 59.5 percent completion rate. While he’s been in the NFL since the Packers drafted him in the fifth round in 2015, Hundley doesn’t have much game experience, which could be a factor if the starter gets hurt.

Jordan Hicks, inside linebacker
The Cardinals will sign Hicks. Here’s a closer look at the linebacker who spent the previous four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles:

What it means: Inside linebacker quickly became a position of need for Arizona’s defense after it released Josh Bynes and reports have linked the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Deone Bucannon. So, Hicks fills a fairly large void in the Cardinals’ latest version of a 3-4. He’ll quickly be inserted into the starting lineup, likely alongside Haason Reddick, giving the Cardinals an athletic, dynamic and versatile pair of inside linebackers. Hicks also reunited Billy Davis, the Cardinals linebackers coach who was the Eagles’ defensive coordinator when Philadelphia drafted Hicks.

What’s the risk: The primary concern with Hicks is his durability. He missed nine games in 2017 with an Achilles injury and four games last season win a calf injury. As long as Hicks can stay healthy, he can the inside linebacker the Cardinals need him to be.

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What many anticipated happening could soon become a reality. Quarterback Josh Rosen might be on his way out of Arizona.

According to the NFL Network’s Charley Casserly, he says he spoke to a team on Tuesday that confirmed the Arizona Cardinals are indeed shopping Rosen.

What’s interesting is that Casserly is the former general manager of the Washington Redskins, a team who needs a quarterback and has been linked to Rosen recently.
This is something that many had supposed would happen over the next couple of weeks. The Cardinals used their first-round pick last season to draft Rosen, but with a new head coach in Kliff Kingsbury, it looks entirely possible that he could start over. Especially considering that he has the No. 1 overall pick.

Rosen had a pretty tough rookie season. He passed for 2,278 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 13 games, while completing just 55.2 percent of his passes. The fact that the Cardinals went 3-13 was not completely his fault, but it looks like Arizona may now may be flirting with the idea of shaking things up.

Kingsbury has reportedly been interested in former Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, and an old video recently resurfaced of him giving Murray very high praise.

“Kyler is a freak…..I would take him with the first pick of the draft if I could,” Kingsbury said.
Well, now that he has the No. 1 overall pick, he has that chance.

It’s hard not to be infatuated with the 2018 Heisman Trophy recipient, who accounted for a school-record 5,362 yards of total offense and 54 touchdowns. That school record is better than Baker Mayfield’s last year with one fewer game. Until he did so this year, no player in FBS history had ever averaged at least 300 passing yards and 60 rushing yards per game for an entire season. Murray finished with 311.5 and 71.5, respectively.

2
COMMENTS
Murray was the talk of the NFL Combine last week even though he didn’t participate in a single drill. Many were scared Murray would measure in at around 5-foot-8 or 5-foot-9 and under 200 pounds at the combine, but he shocked everyone by coming in at 5-foot-10 and 1/8th and 207 pounds. For most NFL teams, this put to bed the concerns people previously had about Murray. However, during Casserly’s Tuesday interview on the NFL Network, he also had some surprising news about Murray’s reviews at the combine. He says that the comments he heard about Murray were the worst he’s ever heard at the combine on a highly-rated quarterback. Teams had concerns about his leadership, his study habits and especially his board work.

While these comments are surprising, don’t expect Murray to fall down draft boards. Everyone has seen his tape and they know just how special of a player he is.

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Cardinals coach Steve Wilks is aware of the low external expectations set for his team in 2018.

After an impressive five-year run under coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer, their retirements have left many wondering if a rebuild is on the horizon in the desert. Wilks is entering his first season as a head coach at the NFL level, so a transition year with difficulties would be normal.

Wilks isn’t subscribing to the theory. He has been hyper-focused since arriving in January, and his plan doesn’t include peaking years down the line.

“This is not a rebuild,” Wilks said on the first day of training camp. “This is a re-tool. I know a lot of people outside the organization – and I may be looking at some (in the local media) – that aren’t giving us an opportunity or a chance, and that’s fine. But we’ve got a lot of talent, a lot of great coaches, and we’re going to make some noise this year.”

Wilks comes over from the Panthers, where he was the defensive coordinator. He brought a host of coaches and a new 4-3 defensive scheme. His top two quarterbacks are new. The Cardinals signed veteran Sam Bradford in free agency and added Josh Rosen with the No. 10 overall selection in the draft. All-Pro running back David Johnson is healthy again, while wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, cornerback Patrick Peterson and defensive end Chandler Jones give him other elite pieces with which to work.

Wilks understands well the precious seat in which he sits – “I feel very privileged, very humbled, to be one of 32 in the whole world,” Wilks said – and does not want to waste any time proving his worth. It’s only been a couple of years since the Cardinals were talked about as Super Bowl contenders. Wilks believes he can return the team quickly to that rarified air.

“I’m not satisfied about being here,” Wilks said. “I said from Day One, I want to make a difference. It’s all about trying to bring a world championship here to the Arizona Cardinals.”
2018 OFFENSIVE PREVIEW

DJOffense
Players To Watch

RB David Johnson – The Cardinals’ 2017 season took a huge hit in the opener when Johnson was lost for the season with a dislocated wrist. The star running back is healthy again and will be a huge part of the game plan. Johnson talks often about reaching 1,000 yards in both rushing and receiving, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

QB Sam Bradford – The former No. 1 overall pick has shown his pure arm talent throughout the preseason. Bradford threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns in the 2017 regular season opener with Minnesota before missing all but two quarters the rest of the way with knee injuries. His availability could play a big role in the team’s fortunes.

WR Larry Fitzgerald – The future Hall of Famer continues to defy Father Time, accumulating at least 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in each of the past three seasons. The 35-year-old is the Cardinals’ go-to wideout and is expected to be Bradford’s favorite target. The prime of Fitzgerald’s career was excellent, and his ability to sustain success into his mid-30s is just as impressive.

LT D.J. Humphries – The athletic blindside protector has shown his potential in flashes over the past two seasons but injuries have limited his impact. Humphries has rare athleticism and seems to be grasping the finer technical points of the position. Humphries can solidify himself as a quality NFL left tackle if he remains healthy and continues to progress.
QB Josh Rosen – If the No. 10 overall pick sits on the bench all season, there won’t be much to see. But Bradford has an extensive injury history, and if he suffers any ailments during the season, the Cardinals would likely turn to Rosen. He showed impressive traits in the preseason and will be a big part of this team’s trajectory over the next few seasons.

Notable Losses: QB Carson Palmer, WR John Brown, T Jared Veldheer, WR Jaron Brown, RB Kerwynn Williams.

Notable Additions: QB Sam Bradford, G Justin Pugh, QB Josh Rosen, WR Christian Kirk, C Mason Cole.
Three Keys To The Offense

1. Pound The Ball – Wilks has been adamant that the Cardinals are going to establish the run. The starting offensive line was impressive in the preseason, especially former Pro Bowler Mike Iupati. If the Cardinals can consistently churn out rushing yards, Bradford will be under less duress and the passing game should find success. If it doesn’t, the Cardinals will be taken out of their comfort zone, where mistakes could happen.

2. A Third Option – Johnson and Fitzgerald are known commodities and will be leaned on heavily throughout the year. However, defenses can focus on stopping them, which would force others to step up. There are a host of possibilities behind them, including tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, wide receiver Christian Kirk and wide receiver Chad Williams, but no clear-cut pecking order. The Cardinals likely need at least one more dynamic contributor for the offense to hit its maximum capacity.
3. Stay Healthy – Bradford, Johnson and Iupati all missed a huge chunk of 2017. Humphries, left guard Justin Pugh and right tackle Andre Smith each missed significant action as well. The Cardinals have more talented pieces on offense than they are given credit for, but the injury history is concerning. They need the majority of their impact starters to be available in 2018.

Table inside Article
2017 Team Totals
Points Per Game 18.4 (25th in NFL)
Total Offense 314.1 yards per game (22nd in NFL)
Passing 227.5 yards per game (15th in NFL)
Net Yards Per Pass Attempt 5.6 (23rd in NFL)
Yards Per Carry 3.4 (31st in NFL)
Turnovers 25 (23rd in NFL)
Table inside Article
2017 Individual Leaders
QB Carson Palmer 1,978 passing yards 9 TD, 7 INT 84.4 passer rating
WR Larry Fitzgerald 109 catches 1,156 yards 6 TD
RB Adrian Peterson 129 carries 448 yards 2 TD
WR J.J. Nelson 29 catches 508 yards 2 TD
WR Jaron Brown 31 catches 477 yards 4 TD
TE Jermaine Gresham 33 catches 322 yards 2 TD
RB Kerwynn Williams 120 carries 426 yards TD
2018 DEFENSIVE PREVIEW

ChanDefensePreview
Players To Watch

DE Chandler Jones – The superstar edge rusher led the NFL with 17 sacks a season ago and should again be a thorn in the side of quarterbacks. Jones has moved from outside linebacker to defensive end but should have a similar job description. Pressuring a quarterback is the biggest key in the modern-day NFL and Jones will aim for another standout season.
S Budda Baker – The 2017 second-round pick showed star potential as a rookie and has earned a prime role defensively as the nickelback in sub-packages. Baker is a versatile piece and will be expected to excel in pass coverage, run support and on blitzes. With Tyrann Mathieu’s departure, Baker is the new jack-of-all-trades playmaker at defensive back.

CB Patrick Peterson – The All-Pro cover man has not gotten much action the past few years, but a more zone-heavy scheme may help Peterson become more involved. He had an interception return for a touchdown in the third preseason game and has hopes of doing more of that in the regular season. Peterson would love to make more splash plays in 2018, but even if he doesn’t, taking away elite receivers is a huge boon to the overall success of the defense.

LB Deone Bucannon – It was a frustrating 2017 for Bucannon, who had offseason ankle surgery and never felt quite right during the season. He suffered a slight setback with a knee injury in training camp but looked good upon his return and is now fully healthy. Bucannon is an impact talent and will be a critical piece in the middle of the defense.

DT Robert Nkemdiche – Wilks has shown confidence in the former first-round pick, penciling him in as a starter on the defensive line. Nkemdiche had some nice moments during training camp but has been limited by a foot injury. He should be ready for the regular season. This is a huge year for him after failing to live up to expectations in his first two.

Notable Losses: S Tyrann Mathieu, CB Tramon Williams, S Tyvon Branch, LB Kareem Martin, LB Karlos Dansby

Notable Additions: S Tre Boston, CB Jamar Taylor, CB Bené Benwikere, DE Benson Mayowa

 

Three Keys To The Defense

1. Force Turnovers – The Cardinals did a masterful job registering takeaways in the preseason, accumulating 17 in four games. If they can carry that ability to the regular season, this team should exceed expectations. The pieces are in place, as is the mentality, but the opportunities can often be fleeting and the defense must take advantage.

2. Star Play From Stars – There is some serious high-end ability on the defense. Peterson has made the Pro Bowl in each of his seven seasons. Bakers looked like a burgeoning star as a rookie. Jones was a sack maniac. If all three stay healthy and perform up to their capabilities, it’s a fantastic starting point for the defense.

3. Stop The Run – The Cardinals have a lot of talent in the secondary, and teams forced to throw a lot will run the risk of getting intercepted. In order to make opposing offenses one-dimensional, the defense needs to stop the run. It has been a point of emphasis by Wilks, and the group has been good in this phase the past few years. It only allowed 3.5 yards per carry last season, third in the NFL. Defensive tackle Corey Peters plays a big role in bottling up the interior.

Table inside Article
2017 Team Totals
Points Per Game Allowed 22.6 (19th in NFL)
Total Defense 310.9 yards per game (6th in NFL)
Passing Yards Allowed 221.3 per game (14th in NFL)
Yards Per Pass Allowed 6.3 (10th in NFL)
Rushing Yards Allowed 89.6 per game (6th in NFL)
Yards Per Carry Allowed 3.5 (3rd in NFL)
Turnovers 21 (16th in NFL)
Table inside Article
2017 Individual Leaders
LB Chandler Jones 68 tackles 17 sacks 28 TFL
LB Karlos Dansby 106 tackles 10 TFL INT
S Antoine Bethea 58 tackles 5 INT FF
LB Deone Bucannon 90 tackles 2 FF INT
S Tyrann Mathieu 76 tackles 2 INT FF
CB Patrick Peterson 33 tackles INT FR
S Budda Baker 61 tackles 2 FF Sack
S Tyvon Branch 65 tackles FF
2018 SPECIAL TEAMS PREVIEW
KirkPreview
Players To Watch

PR Christian Kirk – The Cardinals have not had a dangerous punt returner since Peterson scored four return touchdowns as a rookie. Kirk, this year’s second-round pick, looks natural catching the ball and makes decisive moves. Any big returns would be welcomed with open arms after the Cardinals’ struggles in the area in past years.

P Andy Lee – The Cardinals had been plagued by punting issues for a couple seasons before Lee came in last year and solidified the spot. He signed a multi-year contract extension in the offseason and kicked well in the preseason. While this isn’t the most glorious position, Lee has done a nice job turning it from a weakness into a strength.

K Phil Dawson – The veteran kicker starter 2017 slowly but found a groove down the stretch. He has familiarity with long snapper Aaron Brewer and holder Lee, so the setup should not be an issue. Undrafted free agent kicker Matt McCrane pushed Dawson in the preseason, but the experience the veteran brings can be invaluable in pressure situations.

Notable Losses: PR/KR Kerwynn Williams

Notable Additions: PR Christian Kirk; KR T.J. Logan
Three Keys To Special Teams

Attention To Detail – Wilks has put a large emphasis on special teams during practices. It’s a group that is often rotating personnel so much of the success comes down to coaching, and Jeff Rodgers has done a nice job if the preseason is any indication. The Cardinals struggled on special teams in the past few seasons but renewed emphasis on this phase figures to result in more success in 2018.

Know The Rules – There have been some rules changes that will affect kickoffs and where players can line up on field goal attempts. Live-action penalties tend to happen on special teams because there are so many players running around, but it’s integral not to make mistakes before the snap. Rodgers will undoubtedly be going over the rules ad nauseum and the players must pay attention to the changes.

Block And Tackle – The field-position game could be a big one if the Cardinals’ offense takes some time to heat up this year, which puts the onus on the return and coverage units. The team rarely won this battle in recent years but Rodgers has brought some schemes that have looked effective during the exhibition slate. Kirk and Logan will aim to set up the offense while the gunners need to do their job in coverage.

Table inside Article
2017 Team Totals
Field Goal Percentage 80.0 (21st in NFL)
Extra Point Percentage 88.5 (29th in NFL)
Yards Per Punt 47.3 (6th in NFL)
Net Yards Per Punt 41.5 (17th in NFL)
Kickoff Return Average 20.4 yards (22nd in NFL)
Punt Return Average 7.0 (22nd in NFL)
Table inside Article
2017 Individual Leaders
K Phil Dawson 32-of-40 FG 23-of-26 PAT
P Andy Lee 88 punts 47.3/yd average; 41.5/yd net
KR/PR Kerwynn Williams 20.4 yds/kick return 6.5 yds/punt return