Arizona Cardinals: 3 players that must improve after Week 1
You can make an argument and claim every member of the Arizona Cardinals roster must improve after last week’s loss to Kansas City.
Following a game where the Arizona Cardinals managed just seven points after three quarters while allowing 37 points, it’s hard to choose just three players whose performances would make a list like this. So the following players really jumped out at me following Sunday’s loss, and for Week 2, they all need to step up their game.
One player who didn’t make this list was Zaven Collins. Despite his meager 45.5 grade on Pro Football Focus, Collins’ seven tackles ranked third on the team next to Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson. He was the only player last week to record a tackle for loss – two to be exact.
3 Arizona Cardinals who must improve: Player #1 – Isaiah Simmons
While Simmons has been asked to be a jack-of-all-trades on defense, it’s not a foreign concept to him. I understand fans’ frustrations with the coaches for not using him more at his natural position of inside linebacker, but Simmons’ days of playing multiple roles dates back to his time at Clemson.
His failure to adequately cover Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce jumped out at me more than anything else, including his allowing an easy touchdown reception to the future Hall of Famer on the game’s opening drive. Simmons, however, is in good spirits this week, stating:
"“I’m a lot better than what I’ve put out there. Like I said, it’s Week 1, you don’t win the Super Bowl based off Week 1. You don’t make your career based off one game.“I felt like there were some plays that I left out there, for sure.” – via Arizona Sports."
Simmons also went on record to say he could transform into one of the league’s best at linebacker earlier in the offseason. Now that the games count, it’s time to stop talking, put your head down, and let your actions speak for themselves. Despite his optimism, Simmons is 0 for 1.
Player #2 – Byron Murphy
While Marco Wilson scored a lower PFF grade than Murphy, the latter looked far worse than his second-year counterpart. Wilson allowed a 57.1% completion percentage and even recorded two pass deflections and a forced fumble.
Meanwhile, Murphy allowed catches on all four of his targets, plus a touchdown reception and a 136.5 quarterback rating. If there is any upside to Murphy’s game, it’s that he only allowed 7.3 yards per reception.
Murphy, the Arizona Cardinals current CB1, needs to find a way to return to the form he played at last season. And it needs to start in Week 2 with Davante Adams coming.
Player #3 – James Conner
While everyone was busy celebrating Conner’s career renaissance in 2021, I was apprehensive. The guy was injury-prone, he finished the season with a 3.7 yards per carry average, and in 15 games, accumulated just 752 rushing yards. Okay, his production in the touchdown department was amazing, but other than that, Conner’s play did not impress me.
Eno Benjamin was the Cardinals most productive back, collecting 28 yards on four carries. He played in 34% of the snaps and if he continues to play at a high level, expect those snaps to cut into Conner’s. It’s also worth noting Benjamin had 33 receiving yards on three catches (four targets).
Article Source: Cardinals’ Isaiah Simmons admits he has a ways to go after Week 1 by Alex Weiner
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)