Arizona Cardinals rookie can parlay strong Week 12 performance back into starting role

The Arizona Cardinals had one rookie who struggled in 2023, only to perhaps turn a corner in last week’s 37-14 loss.
Los Angeles Rams v Arizona Cardinals
Los Angeles Rams v Arizona Cardinals / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

There is nothing good about losing 37-14, but for Arizona Cardinals rookie Kei’Trel Clark, his performance last Sunday could set the stage for some consistency in the upcoming Week 13 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Thanks to Marco Wilson’s inefficacy, Clark consistently saw the field often on defense for the first time in a while, and he didn’t look half-bad. 

While he allowed six catches on seven targets, Clark gave up just 27 receiving yards, 3.9 yards per target, and 4.5 yards per catch, both of which being a season-best. The 82.7 quarterback rating he allowed is his best since giving up a 67.1 rating in Week 2.

Since the Cardinals remain thin at corner, Clark can now parlay that encouraging performance into a full-time starting role for the final four games of the year if he enjoys another strong outing this Sunday. This doesn’t mean Clark will open next season as a full-time starter in 2024 should he take advantage, but he could give the Cards strong faith as a vital role player. 

Arizona Cardinals rookie may redeem himself further against Pittsburgh

While Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett looked good last week in the team’s win against the Cincinnati Bengals, it was also the first time anyone had seen the offense without coordinator Matt Canada. Luckily, the Cardinals are going into Week 13 with some film on how the Steelers operate under interim offensive coordinator Eddie Faulkner.

It’s true that we haven’t seen the full extent of Pittsburgh’s offense under Faulkner, but the offense isn’t as much of a mystery heading into Week 13, and that can be a power play for Clark and the rest of the Arizona Cardinals secondary. 

Overall, the rookie corner’s performance last week could set the stage for a redemption month as November fades into December. If he can play a pivotal role in keeping the Steelers receivers in check, then Clark could have a month to remember in the final four games of 2023.


(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)