PFF’s Top 5 Arizona Cardinals player grades from Week 1's loss to Commanders

The Arizona Cardinals enjoyed a remarkable day defensively, so it’s no surprise that one EDGE rusher in particular topped PFF’s list.
Arizona Cardinals v Washington Commanders
Arizona Cardinals v Washington Commanders / Michael Owens/GettyImages
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The Arizona Cardinals may have lost their season-opener, but if you ask PFF, they had some stellar performances on both sides of the ball. And ironically enough, when you look at the top five grades from the site, three of those players are on offense. 

The defense, collectively, played a solid game, with the top two grades coming from, you guessed it, EDGE rushers. Dennis Gardeck and Victor Dimukeje paced the Redbirds, with BJ Ojulari and Kevin Strong also getting honorable mentions here. 

Offensively, James Conner, Will Hernandez, and Geoff Swaim take the podium spots. Keaontay Ingram and Trey McBride were also a pair of honorable mentions on offense per PFF’s grades, as was receiver Marquise Brown. 

James Conner
Sep 10, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders linebacker Jamin Davis (52) tackles / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Top 5 Arizona Cardinals players from Week 1 per PFF

1 - Dennis Gardeck: 91.2

No surprise with Dennis Gardeck, as he served as a catalyst for the Arizona Cardinals lone touchdown of the day. With a pair of sacks, a trio of quarterback hits, six stops, and a tackle for loss, Gardeck was by far the Cards best defensive player. 

Following a remarkable 2020 campaign, Gardeck stagnated in 2021 and 2022, and it looked as though he was finished contributing defensively. He proved those fears wrong yesterday, and you can expect the 29-year-old to be an integral part of the game plan in Week 2.

2 - James Conner: 83.3

The offense saw few bright spots, but James Conner was one of them. The seventh-year pro racked up 62 yards on 14 carries, good for 4.4 yards per attempt. He also sustained a success rate of 50%, meaning he gained a specific threshold of yards per play, like 40% of yards needed to move the sticks on first down, and so forth. 

Look for the downhill runner to once again receive plenty of, if not more action in Week 2 as the Arizona Cardinals need to get creative in taking pressure off of quarterback Josh Dobbs. If Conner stays healthy, you should see him put up consistent numbers.