The Arizona Cardinals may finally have some new life with Kyler Murray returning to at least turn this 1-8 squad into something remotely respectable. There won’t be any playoffs this season, but there is still a lot to get out of 2023, with Murray taking advantage of his opportunity to show he can run the offense being one of them.
But there are a few other players who also need to step up their respective games starting this Sunday. No, not all of those listed below have underperformed, and to be real, two of them have been rather impressive. With Murray lining up under center, however, they will also be called upon to step up more than perhaps anyone else on the offense for varying reasons.
One is a rookie who has enjoyed a rather solid season despite the fact his unit hasn’t looked so hot. Two others are in their second seasons and they can further make their cases to stick around starting with sound performances starting in Week 10.
3 Arizona Cardinals players who must step up in Week 10
1 - Paris Johnson Jr., OT
Paris Johnson isn’t on this list because he’s done a poor job, as mentioned earlier. Contrary to his 50.1 PFF Grade, Johnson has played well in 2023, but his first major test will come this Sunday. Not only will Kyler Murray debut, but the rookie may be tasked with protecting the quarterback’s blind side this week if Humphries can’t go and help anchor a makeshift offensive line.
Even if someone else like Kelvin Beachum is asked to play left tackle, Johnson must bring his A-game this week. There will also likely be backups playing both guard positions, so Johnson’s afternoon must be picture perfect.
This means no penalties (he has eight this season), and he also needs to keep the total number of pressures (25 this year) and hits allowed (also eight) to a minimum. The ultimate plus, however, is that Johnson has only allowed three sacks, and that should be a reassuring number to fans.