30. Arizona Cardinals What’s New in 2019: Man, I mean a lot and probably too much. We have a first time head coach, whose first gig in the NFL comes with his current role. It’s still wild to see a guy fail upwards by getting fired by his college team and supposedly swarmed over by NFL teams within the same year. Former Packers OC Tom Clements will be the team's de-facto offensive coordinator and Vance Joseph comes over from Denver to take on the DC duties after being fired as their head coach. I would imagine Joseph will have somewhat of a free reign there.  In free agency, JR Sweezy and Marcus Gilbert were signed to bolster the offensive line and Charles Clay was brought in to compete for tight end snaps. On defense, Terrell Suggs and Brooks Reed were brought in to help with the outside pass-rush, Darius Philon to help the defensive line, Jordan Hicks signed to help the linebacker spot and Robert Alford and DJ Swearinger to help the secondary. A brand new QB comes into replace last year’s brand new rookie QB and he headlines a rookie class which was surprisingly exciting especially given the GM’s recent record. Roster Strengths: Running Back – At running back, there’s an all-pro talent in David Johnson who was written-out of the offensive playbook last season for no good reason at all.  Wide Receiver – I mean, kinda - there's a lot of names there at least. There will be a lot of heavy receiver sets in most Cardinals offensive plays next season and the Cards added three intriguing draft picks in speedster Andy Isabella, big play Hakeem Butler and route runner KeeSean Johnson to join future HOF Larry Fitz and last year’s 2nd round pick Christian Kirk (plus Kevin White??) already present. Outside of Fitz, it’s inexperienced, but it’s also exciting and has a nice blend of skills.  Elsewhere - Chandler Jones has been rolling since coming in via a trade which didn't then work out in the Pats favor for once and Patrick Peterson should be his reliably top tier self after he returns from a four game suspension.  Roster Weaknesses: Offensive Line – Still plenty to work through, with all spots pretty much available to be won outside of DJ Humphries on the left side and that’s if he can sustain good health after missing 18 games over the past two seasons.  Tight End – There's gonna be an epic battle between Ricky Seals-Jones, Charles Clay and Maxx Williams for the starting gig Breakout Player: Christian Kirk – Kirk had an up and down rookie season, but has an inside track with the new offensive scheme given his experience in an Air-Raid offense at A & M and his former teammate there Kyler Murray is now his new quarterback. Even in a crowded receiver corps, he can handle the load as a high volume target in a pass-heavy attack. How they can win in 2019: Firstly, there's a huge amount on the plate of a first time head coach. He has a new system to implement and Arizona has seen a fairly dramatic roster overhaul since the off-season began. Secondly, whether it is by the quarterback’s elusiveness or through the better health/ability of the offensive line, they need to protect Kyler Murray who is going to have a full schedule for a rookie quarterback and he's got to be up to that task. The new scheme perhaps could shield him from some of the defensive pressure they couldn't hold back in 2018, but the ball is going to be in the air, whether that’s on a screen to David Johnson, or a stick throw to Larry Fitz. It’s an incredibly young roster on offense, so getting those guys ready to play early is fairly crucial to their success in 2019. If they can achieve that, that same new scheme could leave defensive opponents confused and slow to catch-up. The Cards have a favorable schedule early, so that's where that advantage may show up.  Arizona had the worst run defense in football in 2018, that feels like priority number one. Perhaps the move back to a 3-4 will help, Chandler Jones is expected to partner Suggs at outside linebacker, leaving an interior of Darius Philon, Rodney Gunter, Corey Peters and rookie Zach Allen to rotate through, but they to deliver the improvement. Jordan Hicks seems like an upgrade over what they’ve had at linebacker in recent seasons and they might get him a decent full-time running partner in Haason Reddick who has failed to flourish in a utility role since he was their first pick in 2017. Priority number two is finding a full-time running partner opposite Patrick Peterson, whose suspension leaves them extremely vulnerable at the back-end for six games especially if Robert Alford, who was terrible last year, has to take on his role. It might be Byron Murphy, their 2nd round draft pick who could be more comfortable playing in the slot early. Either way, they are going to to need him to come out of the gate hard.  Predicted record 2019: 4-12 - I think there might be a little too much to do in a quick turnaround here, but if they finish 2019 with a rosier looking 2020 on the horizon then the Cards will probably be happy with that. 
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