Arizona Cardinals entering season without a group of key contributors

Injuries will force several key members from the Arizona Cardinals roster to miss either four weeks or the entire 2023 campaign.
New England Patriots v Arizona Cardinals
New England Patriots v Arizona Cardinals / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Arizona Cardinals are entering the 2023 campaign with an extremely depleted roster. First-year general manager Monti Ossenfort is essentially tearing down a team that was in dire need of an overhaul. The cupboard is bare enough that many of the league's analysts believe that a severely undermanned Cards squad will contend for the top-overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Making matters even worse for the Cardinals is the fact that an already inferior group has been weakened even further by injuries. The good news is that a few of the players could be back with the club after just four weeks. Others, however, will miss the entire season after being placed on Arizona's injured-reserve list.

The most important member of the Cards' walking wounded is Kyler Murray, the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback who suffered a torn ACL last December. The 26-year-old reportedly attacked his rehab with ferocity, and many fans were hoping he'd would be back for Week 1. Unfortunately, Murray will be sidelined for a minimum of four weeks after being placed on the league's Physically Unable to Perform list back on August 28th.

Back in April, the Redbirds used a third-round draft choice on Garrett Williams, a highly-touted cornerback out of Syracuse University. The downside to the pick was that the 5 foot 10,192 pounder suffered a knee injury of his own last October. Like Murray, Williams will miss at least four games after the Cardinals put him on the reserve/non-football injury list this past July.

The outlook for the Arizona Cardinals would improve with a full complement of players

Second-year pro Myjai Sanders is expected to be a part of an Arizona pass rush that is chock-full of question marks. The 25-year-old showed promise as a rookie edge-rusher in 2022, but a hand issue has hindered his upward trajectory since the first week of this summer's training camp. The Cards defense will be looking for Sanders to hit the ground running when he returns to the field sometime after Week 4.

A pair of talented offensive linemen were placed on season-ending injured reserve back in late August, shelving the blockers before the '23 campaign could even get started. Pat Elflein, a veteran center with 64 professional starts on his resume, was sidelined with an undisclosed injury. Guard/center Jon Gaines II, a fourth-round pick in this year's draft, banged up his knee during the Cardinals' preseason clash with the Minnesota Vikings.

Running back Marlon Mack was brought in to complement starter James Conner, but the veteran was felled by the second torn Achilles tendon of his pro career back on August 9th. Rashad Fenton, a capable cover guy who had logged 16 starts for the Kansas City Chiefs, was the second Arizona veteran (Elflein) to go down with an undisclosed injury. Dennis Daley, a versatile offensive lineman who was acquired to provide depth, is dealing with a bum ankle.

Things will start looking better for the Cards when they get a few of the contributors back. Possessing solid depth is incredibly vital for any franchise that is vying for success in the National Football League. For now, head coach Jonathan Gannon's crew will attempt to stay above water with whoever is healthy enough to play.