What a difference four months makes, as it turns out the Arizona Cardinals were not tanking in the way many throughout the NFL universe figured. Sure, the new front office dismantled the roster, but it was by no means barren, as several key players from previous years remained.
At the same time, the Redbirds found quite a few gems in the rough that proved capable of remaining on this team long-term. Running backs Emari Demercado and Michael Carter look like they will stay, along with tight end Trey McBride, tackle Paris Johnson, defensive tackle Dante Stills, and safety Jalen Thompson, just to name a few.
In a season where everything was supposed to go wrong, there were also some things that went so well, they will help set the stage for 2024. Below, you will find three of them, and what makes them so conducive to the Cardinals when September 2024 rolls around.
What went right for the Arizona Cardinals in 2023?
1 - Kyler Murray
If you had little faith in Kyler Murray before his Week 10 return, you weren’t alone as former first overall picks like Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence outplayed Murray, both of whom were drafted one and two years before each aforementioned quarterback. Take into consideration that Jared Goff and Baker Mayfield won playoff games, and it was safe to say Murray was the worst top pick at quarterback since Jameis Winston in 2015.
Following a good outing in Week 10 followed by a pair of pedestrian performances in Weeks 11 and 12, Murray once again found himself at possible crossroads. However, he all but put those doubts on hold. In his previous four games, Murray has gone 88 for 131 for 818 yards, seven touchdowns, three interceptions, and a 92.8 passer rating while adding 125 rushing yards on 25 attempts.
Murray is also 3-4 heading into the season finale, and he’s had average at best wide receivers to throw to plus third and sometimes fourth-stringers on defense trying to keep opposing offenses in check. While his overall numbers weren’t pacing the league, Murray’s play has foreshadowed a potential career renaissance for 2024.