It’s been nearly 24 hours since the Arizona Cardinals won their preseason opener vs. the Denver Broncos in what turned out to be a thriller. And even if the final score doesn’t count in the win-loss column, every moment of this game counted in terms of evaluations for the players and coaches.
As for new head coach Jonathan Gannon, it was his and the team’s opportunity to show that the culture change in the desert wasn’t just a load of words. And fortunately for the Redbirds, it wasn’t, as you could see in several instances during the team’s win.
Arizona Cardinals culture change was on full display
When I looked to the sidelines during last night’s game, I noticed something I’d never seen anywhere else except on a high school field. Every player who was listed as active, even if they had the night off, was wearing their jersey, including players like running back James Conner.
That gave the Cardinals a continued sense of solidarity they didn’t have under former head coach Kliff Kingsbury. And it was basically an extension from Gannon’s requirement that the team wear Cardinals-related gear during team meetings.
We also saw, for once, reasonable in-game management, which is a far cry from what we had to deal with under Kingsbury. And yeah, I know, it was only a preseason game, but it was also Gannon’s chance to make a good first impression with the fanbase during an in-game situation.
It was, overall, a level-headed performance not just from the team, who clearly never lost its focus, but also from the man and his young staff leading them. When the Arizona Cardinals hired Jonathan Gannon, it was a polarizing move, but that level of anxiety of whether the coach could fare well during in-game situations should have dissipated some.
There will be more tests for this culture change and the way Gannon manages the game. But at least in the early stages, we are getting positive returns, and that should be a collective sigh of relief for the Red Sea.
Source: How Jonathan Gannon has brought 'culture shock' to Cardinals by Josh Weinfuss, ESPN