You know how a plethora of narratives develop in any given NFL offseason, yet once the 17-game gauntlet rolls around, many of those so-called foregone conclusions immediately go to the wayside? The Arizona Cardinals have seen several of their own narratives drop over the past few weeks, and you can count on several more to go before the 2023 season is up.
But there are three narratives that have changed since the Cardinals preseason ended a few weeks ago. One narrative that’s fading by the day is the claim that they were tanking, as the Cards have so far not looked anywhere near the worst team in football.
Another narrative surrounds Jonathan Gannon, and he’s proving by the week that he’s a much better coach than many in the NFL universe thought. And finally, there’s the narrative surrounding the claim that the Redbirds defense wouldn’t stop anyone this year. Let’s look at all three of these narratives in-depth, and explain how they are unraveling.
1 - The Cardinals are tanking
Following the Cardinals supposedly uneventful free agency period when they lost more notable players than they gained, most in the NFL universe, including many in the Red Sea, thought the Cards were tanking. Couple this with the fact that Caleb Williams has been long-regarded as the top prospect in the 2024 draft with their current quarterback in Kyler Murray recovering from a torn ACL, it’s easy to see how this became a narrative.
However, there were plenty of reasons to debunk the tanking theory rather easily. For one, the Cardinals didn’t host a “fire sale,” which would have resulted in the trades of several former top-end contributors. Instead, they kept players like Budda Baker, Jalen Thompson, and Zaven Collins, among others, around.
The Cards also traded for who we now know is a serviceable quarterback in Joshua Dobbs after they cut the ailing Colt McCoy. The Cards roster didn’t look strong on paper, but it also wasn’t as weak as the masses believed, and they proved it with an unheralded win last Sunday.