The Arizona Cardinals are like a team in reverse this season, with one star player appearing just once in four games while the other has yet to get off the PUP list. Often, you see injuries pile up and teams fade into obscurity as the year progresses, but that’s not the case with this 2023 squad.
Further, you should expect both of these stars to return to the field at some point in 2023, and they aren’t the only reinforcements the Cardinals have on the way. Cornerback Garrett Williams returned to the practice field earlier in the week and has been limited so far, so that’s a much-needed step in the right direction.
He has a three-week window for the Redbirds to give him a spot on the 53-man roster. Ditto for Dennis Daley, who the Cardinals placed on injured reserve shortly before the season began.
The ideal situation is that Williams, Daley, Budda Baker, and Kyler Murray all return at some point in the first half, or halfway through the season. Neither Baker’s nor Murray’s respective windows have opened, but recently, the latter implied his could be opening sooner than later. So even if the Cards are standing at 1-7 after eight weeks and all of the above are on the field, the season isn’t lost…to a degree, anyway…
Arizona Cardinals season won’t be lost even if they lose in near future
This isn’t to say Murray and Company will return and lead the Redbirds on a magical playoff run. That would be the most far-fetched prediction of the season. But it does mean the Cards could embark on a run that could see them finishing somewhere between 7-10 and 9-8.
Don’t believe me? Just look at the 2022 Detroit Lions, who were down and out after they started the 2022 season 1-6. Detroit was the hottest team in the NFL between Weeks 9 and 18, and they finished the year with a 9-8 record. Since that run began, the Lions are 11-3, and appear to be the best team in the NFC North by a mile.
Therefore, even if the road is rocky, the Cardinals will still have a lot to play for if they drop the next four games IF Williams and Daley make it onto the field within their window, and if Baker and Murray return this season.
Source: Garrett Williams Back To Practice After Near-Year Away by Darren Urban, AZ Cardinals.com
(Historical data provided by Pro-Football-Reference)