The Arizona Cardinals struggled through 2023, but poor play from specific players served as the root cause and five of them stood out more than anyone else. Each of the names listed below either took at least a step back, or they were nonexistent for the entire 2023 season, and you can even argue they held the team back.
Three of those five have already been cut and they won’t return to the desert for the duration of their careers. The other two may be finished in Glendale, as one has an expiring contract while the other’s contract is expendable.
If the Cardinals find adequate replacements for the names listed below, don’t expect them to struggle the way they did in 2023. This isn’t to say five solid replacements for the five players will turn the team into a playoff contender, but they will be better all-around with new talent.
5 players who stifled the Arizona Cardinals in 2023
1 - Marco Wilson, CB
You could argue that no other cornerback in the NFL played more poorly than Marco Wilson, as he never recovered from that long pass interference penalty he committed in Week 1 that played a pivotal role in helping to set up a Washington Commanders touchdown late in the first half. Following that penalty, Wilson’s play never regained its form, and the Cardinals cut him after 15 games.
Had Wilson picked up from where he left off in 2022, the Cardinals may not have such a pressing need at cornerback. But his monumental regression from allowing a 77.1 passer rating in Year 2 to a 136.7 rating in Year 3 added yet another hole to an already weak Redbirds defense. Wilson eventually landed in New England, where he played in one game and 10 snaps with the New England Patriots.