The Arizona Cardinals are in a rebuilding season, not a tank, so things were naturally going to be rough. However, they also could have made things much less painful considering the circumstances they were bound to find themselves in.
With just one proven running back on the roster, and an injury-prone one at that, the Cards gambled and lost when James Conner was forced to miss four games. They took a similar gamble at quarterback, and they were left scrambling to find a stopgap for the position when it became clear Colt McCoy wasn’t the answer.
A third gamble occurred on the defensive side of the ball with Marco Wilson, who the Cards hoped could be the No. 1 corner. That also didn’t work well, and Wilson may have worn out his stay in Glendale given his poor performances this year.
3 regrets for the Arizona Cardinals in 2023
1 - Failing to address the running back position
When James Conner went down with a knee injury in Week 5, the Arizona Cardinals realized too little too late they had dug themselves into a hole. Sure, undrafted rookie Emari Demercado helped until he also got hurt, but the revolving door of Keaontay Ingram, Damien Williams, and Tony Jones Jr. was just painful to watch at times, even if Williams fared rather well occasionally.
Overall, the running game saw a steep drop after Conner went down, and it too bottomed out in that Week 9 debacle against the Cleveland Browns. Luckily, Conner returned the following week and he also played a pivotal role in helping the Redbirds secure their first win since Week 3.
But had the Cards brought in a competent back before that, Conner may have never needed to carry most of the load for so long. At least Monti Ossenfort atoned for this by claiming Michael Carter off waivers, a back who could have a pivotal role in the desert.