3 reasons why 2023 was never a lost season for the Arizona Cardinals

Through 16 weeks, the Arizona Cardinals are boasting an ugly 3-12 record, but it doesn’t mean the 2023 season was lost.

Dec 24, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) looks to hand
Dec 24, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) looks to hand / Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
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When your team sits at 3-12, the common consensus is that the season is “lost.” But for the Arizona Cardinals, they had two choices: Continue with the mediocrity that former general manager Steve Keim gave them year in and year out, or tear down the crumbling structure and build the foundation for a new one in 2023 in hopes of seeing brighter days in the future. 

Fortunately, the Cardinals hired a general manager in Monti Ossenfort who decided to roll with the latter instead of trying to make something out of whatever it was Steve Keim left for him. And yeah, it meant for a long season, but it also showed Ossenfort and Company what they need to do if they want to inch closer to fielding a winner (or at least a more competitive team) in 2024 and beyond. 

The 2023 season gave them that measuring stick, plus an influx of young talent in the form of a strong rookie class. Finally, they have continued to trim the roster of guys from the Keim era, and bring in players who will help this team win consistently as the Ossenfort and Jonathan Gannon era moves into Year 2. 

Arizona Cardinals
Dec 24, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) passes in the / Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Why 2023 was successful for the Arizona Cardinals despite the record

1 - 2023 provided the ultimate measuring stick

We all know 2023 was ultimately going to be a rough season for the Redbirds, as the team was full mainly of youngsters and second-tier players. Overall, they looked like an expansion team, but this season also showed us exactly where the Cardinals stand when compared to the rest of the NFL. 

At this point, they’re closer to the bottom five, but with salary cap space to work with to bring in reasonably-priced free agents if they match the system and team persona, and with enough draft capital to bring in fresh faces who will also fit, the Cardinals now know what they need to do if they plan on fielding a competitive team in 2024. Look for the Redbirds to continue overhauling the roster now that they know they need more than a few pieces to succeed.