Regardless of where you look, there is a common denominator surrounding the Arizona Cardinals in 2023: They will be the worst, or one of the worst teams in football.
Sure, when you are a team that lost a ton of key veterans and replaced them with rookies and cast-offs, you’re going to be a massive underdog. But really, is there any harm in that?
Not if you ask Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner, who seems to be relishing the role. Here is a snippet of what Conner said about the Redbirds’ underdog status in 2023.
"“If you think of anybody who done something great in the game of football there was probably time when their back was against the wall. Everybody was counting them out and it was just so unexpected for them to do something really big.”"- James Conner
And if you look at the Cardinals roster, any logical individual will see that they have plenty of talent to win more than a few games in 2023. Conner is one name that jumps out, but Marquise Brown has been a productive player in this league. Ditto for Zach Ertz, if he sticks around, but if not, Trey McBride is a solid up and comer.
The Cards also have a dynamic offensive line with former Pro Bowler D.J. Humphries returning to the lineup, along with rookie Paris Johnson sliding in at guard. They could have their center of the future in Jon Gaines II potentially winning the job sooner than later if they indeed put him in the middle of the line as opposed to his natural position at guard. Finally, Will Hernandez and Kelvin Beachum were both successful last season and are returning.
Arizona Cardinals should have fun with critics counting them out in 2023
Flip over to the defensive side of the ball, where Budda Baker stated he’s coming back and he will form a formidable duo with Jalen Thompson-perhaps the best in the NFL. And if that isn’t enough, Marco Wilson proved last season he could be an effective starting corner in this league, and you can expect even more from him in 2023.
Newcomer Kyzir White has been a leader so far in this young season, offseason really, while the likes of Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins have shown that they can be productive when used properly.
Let’s also not forget about B.J. Ojulari, who will immediately join a rotation that already includes Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders, two players who enjoyed a solid output when they had a chance to play in the rookie-unfriendly Vance Joseph’s defense.
So why are critics saying the Arizona Cardinals will be terrible? Young team, new coach, new system, no exciting free agent signings, and Hopkins’ release factor in. But when you look closer at this roster, it’s nothing close being as barren as the Redbirds top critics would like you to believe.
That said, the Cards should let the media, fans of opposing teams, and perhaps even opposing teams themselves make the mistake and think Arizona will be terrible in 2023. I’m not saying the Cards won’t have their struggles, but they will get more than a few laughs in this season.
Source: Cardinals Embracing Doubt Heading Into 2023 by Donnie Druin, SI.com