The Arizona Cardinals are 1-8, but they have seen their fair share of surprises so far in 2023 that could continue to impress in the season’s second half.
Despite their meager 1-8 record, it doesn’t mean the Arizona Cardinals haven’t had a few pleasant surprises in 2023. Sure, the games have been tough to watch, especially that last one in what was a historic meltdown offensively.
But how many brutal games do you watch and say, “Well, at least the defense played a decent game”? Rarely happens, right? But that’s exactly the “surprise” element this past Sunday, and there are a few more surprises for the Cards across the first nine games of the season.
Two of those surprises have come on defense, and another comprises some of the team’s youngest players. So without further word, let’s check out the three most pleasant surprises of the 2023 Arizona Cardinals.
3 biggest surprises for the Arizona Cardinals in 2023
1 - Pass rush
The Arizona Cardinals pass rush did not contain an elite EDGE rusher, yet they have been one of the few bright spots on this 1-8 team. While the Cardinals don’t blitz often, logging just a blitz percentage of 21.0 per dropback, they have still picked up 25 sacks, which is 10th in the league as of Thursday afternoon.
And it hasn’t just been one player stepping up, but a collective effort among the rotation. So far, a dozen different Redbirds have recorded at least a half-sack, with Dennis Gardeck and Victor Dimukeje leading the way with 4.0 sacks apiece.
The Cardinals EDGE rushers have also been invading the backfield often, with Gardeck and converted linebacker Zaven Collins recording six and five tackles for loss, respectively. If the Cards can get more growth from rookie BJ Ojulari, and if Collins can show some improvement during the second half of the season, this group will be good for a while.