3 - Nolan Cooney, P
If anyone brought their A-Game in the preseason, it was punter Nolan Cooney. He reminded us that punters do more than just kick the ball back to the other team - something a lot of even the most passionate NFL fans believe it’s all they do.
Cooney constantly put his team in position to win the field position battle in August. While it will be up to the defense to ultimately win the battle, Cooney must keep giving them that advantage this Sunday. And it’s something I’m already projecting him to do every time he’s on the field.
Some teams will be tougher to stop than the Commanders, who are rolling with a virtual unknown in Sam Howell. Therefore, if Cooney gives the Arizona Cardinals four quarters of elite punting and the defense holds, then the Cards offense could find themselves working with plenty of short fields.
Overall, every player must bring their A-Game each week if they plan on at least putting up a competitive outing. But the three players listed above could have a dramatic effect on whether the Redbirds end Week 1 in the win column.