Arizona Cardinals not the worst team in football per major outlet, but…

USA Today recently unveiled its 32-team power ranking, and believe it or not, the Arizona Cardinals are NOT ranked last in the league.
Jonathan Gannon, Arizona Cardinals head coach, left, speaks Kyler McMichael (48), right, during the
Jonathan Gannon, Arizona Cardinals head coach, left, speaks Kyler McMichael (48), right, during the / Joel Angel Juarez/The Republic / USA

No, that is not a typo - the Arizona Cardinals are not ranked 32nd in For the Win’s (USA Today’s) power rankings. Instead, they are ranked 31st. But that didn’t stop analyst Robert Zeglinski from making a rather interesting take on the Cardinals current situation. Here is what they had to say:

"“Kyler Murray will apparently be ready for Week 1 after his ACL tear. This isn’t necessarily a good thing. Not because Murray is awful, but because it’s unclear the inept Cardinals are even trying to win. Despite his tough circumstances, Murray may have to play like a superstar to prevent a tidal wave known as “Top-2 Quarterback Draft Pick” from taking his job. Gulp.”"

Robert Zeglinski

For starters, Murray is currently on the PUP list, and there is no indication that he will be ready to go come Week 1. While the Cardinals can take him off of the list at any time during camp, he will miss at least four games if he’s still on it following final cuts. This will cause him to miss Week 1’s outing vs. the Washington Commanders.

Further, we’ve already addressed the following two claims here at Raising Zona. Awful quarterbacks don’t make a pair of Pro Bowls and win Rookie of the Year, and they don’t lead their respective teams to the playoffs. Murray accomplished all of the above, and while I will say that recognition like Pro Bowls are overrated (see Tyler Huntley), it still shows that fans and peers have recognized the former number one overall pick’s play. 

Arizona Cardinals are trying to win in 2023, just ask Budda Baker

Budda Baker is one of the NFL’s best safeties, and one of the team’s most important players is more than willing to stay in the desert. If it wasn’t clear whether the Redbirds were trying to win, a player of Baker’s caliber wouldn’t be so keen to hang around the desert. 

While the Cards would benefit from Murray hitting the ground running upon his eventual return, the type of offense we will see in Arizona this season won’t require him to take over games. The Cardinals will be factoring their game around the run, meaning Murray will be another piece to the puzzle as opposed to winning games solely on his arm and legs. 

Overall, don’t expect to see Kyler Murray returning for Week 1 unless he’s taken off the PUP list within the next couple of weeks. Further, this Cards team isn’t just trying to win; they have enough talent to win more than most believe, something else we’ve covered extensively. 


Source: Rankings: From powerhouses (the Bengals!) to bottom-feeders (oof, Cardinals) by Robert Zeglinski and Christian D’Andrea