4 overlooked Arizona Cardinals who have come up big in season’s first two weeks

The Arizona Cardinals may be 0-2, but a few unprecedented players have been coming up big in the season’s early going. Here are three surprises so far.
New York Giants v Arizona Cardinals
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Dennis Gardeck
New York Giants v Arizona Cardinals / Norm Hall/GettyImages

2 - Dennis Gardeck, EDGE

Few of us thought Dennis Gardeck would hold up well in the Arizona Cardinals EDGE rotation following a pair of subpar performances on defense in 2021 and 2022. His success when filling in for Chandler Jones in 2020 appeared to be long gone, but head coach Jonathan Gannon’s new system has been kind to Gardeck.

In the season’s early stages, Gardeck has been the team’s best player on defense, and you can even argue that the 29-year-old has been their best player overall. He has three sacks already in two games, four pressures, a forced fumble, and an astounding three tackles behind the line. His 89.6 PFF rating is ninth out of 107 qualified EDGE rushers, and at this point, the entire league will know Gardeck’s name if he keeps this up. 

3 - Andre Chachere, S

Budda Baker is slated to miss time with a hamstring issue, so someone needs to step up in his absence. Jalen Thompson has looked good through the first two weeks, but Andre Chachere has been excellent when given the chance. 

Chachere, who never impressed me in the preseason, has been a revelation over two games, deflecting a pair of passes and allowing just a quarterback rating of 62.5. Want more? Chachere ranks 15th out of 75 qualified safeties on PFF with a 75.6 grade. If he keeps playing well in coverage, expect that grade to increase as opposing quarterbacks may continue to avoid throwing his way.