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2021 Cardinals Off-season


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So an interesting question was posed in NFL gen. It was which team that missed the playoffs has the greatest chance of being this year's Bucs? 

On 2/27/2021 at 8:13 PM, HoboRocket said:

I'm going to go the homer route and pick the Cardinals. The Cardinals had some quality wins against tough opponents. A lot of the pieces were there, but they couldn't put it together on a week-to-week basis.

Their offense and defense were both borderline top-10 in points, and they were the 6th-ranked offense in yardage. They were a middle-of-the-pack passing game and a dangerous team on the ground. Kenyan Drake wasn't very impressive, but they still racked up yards with Kyler putting up RB numbers to supplement Drake, and Chase Edmonds did well in limited opportunities once again, racking up nearly as many yards from scrimmage as Drake. Drake is expected to exit via free agency, but honestly, it should be fairly easy to upgrade him. He was incredible in 2019 for us, but was just so lackluster this past year. There are multiple RBs that should be able to replace or upgrade his production in free agency, and the draft is always an excellent option for RBs. There are a few guys this year that would be solid choices.

Their passing game weapons left a lot to be desired. DeAndre Hopkins was unstoppable for most of the season, but Christian Kirk was extremely frustrating. Dan Arnold failed to make the necessary steps and Larry Fitzgerald has lost a step, and at 38 years old, with a limited role on offense, he should not have finished second on the team in receptions. Chase Edmonds, the back-up RB, was third. Aside from those three players, it was a frustrating bunch of players catching the football. On the bright side, it's a really young group overall. There's still hope that guys like Dan Arnold or Christian Kirk can just take the next step in a contract year, or even if someone else from their multitude of young receivers can step up, (Andy Isabella, Keesean Johnson, Trent Sherfield, Maxx Williams, or Darrell Daniels are all still yet to enter their prime). Overall, every receiver on the team, aside from Fitzgerald and Hopkins, is still under 25. There should be some level of natural progression.

Their defense was playoff-caliber. Part of it was just that it was hard to have consistency. A slew of injuries to the defense occurred about halfway throughout the season, and all of a sudden they didn't have the personnel to run some of those exotic looks that were working so well at times and disrupting offenses. Honestly, I thought Vance Joseph did an incredible job with the players he had. They had the 3rd-best red zone defense and held teams to a low 39% conversion rate. Hopefully the defense will get healthier this year. Patty P has lost a few steps, and he might leave. He's a really meaningful guy for this locker room, but he's also had a little bit of drama in recent years and was unhappy with playing here, so that combined with poor play means that I'm okay with him leaving. Chandler Jones is a monster and a fantastic leader, and I really hope he stays. I really like our edge rush, but we just haven't had everyone healthy. Retaining Haason Reddick is an absolute must. We still haven't been able to see much of a healthy Zach Allen, someone who the front office has been bullish on, and then we didn't really see Jordan Phillips, either. Both rookie DTs were awful, but it's not out of the question that they'll progress, as this year was a crapshoot for a lot of rookies. 

Overall, I really like our edge rush, LBs, and safety group. The corners were okay but could use an upgrade, and while the interior of the DL didn't perform very well and was injured, Vance Joseph did a masterful job as masking that with different personnel packages and interior blitzes. I honestly wouldn't really invest in an upgrade on the DL unless it was a sure thing, considering that we've drafted three DTs on day 2 over the past couple years, and we also have just had injury issues there. Overall, like I said, I really believe in this defense and in Vance. We're only a piece or two away, IMO. 3rd-best red zone D, 39% 3rd down rate.

Part of the issue is that we also had a 39% 3rd down rate on offense. We didn't really have any answers on third and long. Our best bets were when the defense made a mistake and let Nuk wreck them, or when Kyler was able to scramble for 12+ yards. Kirk was Mr. Dropsy, Dan Arnold flashed some seam ability but isn't there yet, and Fitz can't create separation beyond 10 yards anymore and he wasn't much of a separation guy in the first place. We really need some of these young guys to step up.

As far as our offensive line goes, I like it, honestly. DJ Humphries is a really good left tackle and has been nasty in the run game for a while. Justin Pugh is a very good guard. Justin Murray has played well, and hopefully he'll be the RG next year, while I thought Josh Jones was a round-1 tackle and like the idea of him starting moving forward. We're in desperate need of a competent center, though. 

Kyler was a good QB. He wasn't elite, but he was good. He needs to continue to work on his processing, but it has gotten better. There were quite a few times where he held onto the ball for too long, and there were also times where he bailed on plays with guys open downfield, settling for check-downs to Edmunds or Fitz. It's hard when your weapons fail to step up, but he still can get better about that. He also gets happy feet sometimes and that leads to sloppy throws. There were times when he was avoiding a rush that wasn't there and threw off his back foot. Overall, though, he's an accurate QB with fantastic athleticism and escapability and a strong arm. 

Honestly, I feel like we're only a couple pieces away from being a true contender. We really need a center, and I feel like even an okay center would be a massive improvement to middle of the OL. Lamont Galliard was an upgrade over Mason Cole when he got some chances this season, and this was only his second season in the league, but I'm not sure if he's the answer. A good complementary receiver would go to great lengths to improve the offense, and with so many young guys who have flashed but are just inconsistent, it's not out of the question that one of them could step up, find some consistency, and be that piece. If not, there are some options out there via the draft or free agency. Again, Hopkins is an elite alpha receiver. We just need a second guy on the team who can be counted on to reach at least 650 yards, something that didn't happen this past year. Finally, we could use an improvement at corner. Dre Kirkpatrick was good, Byron Murphy continues to develop. Maybe Murphy steps up and becomes the guy. Probably not, considering his frame and how badly he's been beaten at times, but he's also gone toe to toe with some of the league's better receivers and held them in check. Ideally, though, we'd be getting another corner.

Honestly, at all of the positions of weakness, there are potential solutions in our young guys. If we can just hit on one or two guys this off-season and the team stays mostly intact, I think we could surprise people. 

There's a natural line of progression here for both Kyler and Kliff as they enter year 3 in the NFL. They've both gotten better. The team as whole is still very young and has gotten better. We just need that trend to continue with a little bit of help, but yeah, I seriously think we could make waves next season. Do I think we'll win the Super Bowl? Nope. Would I be SURPRISED if we made a deep playoff run? Nope.

And then we got JJ WATT, BABY!

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And like I said in the JJ thread, this has the potential to be a special locker room. Not necessarily thinking we're winning the Super Bowl, but think of the locker room. We have Larry Fitzgerald, Chandler Jones, and JJ Watt. That's special.

 

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1 hour ago, 11sanchez11 said:

I hope we re-sign Reddick. 

To me, that's priority #1. Do we have other guys that can potentially contribute? Yes. We have such a great edge rush. But Reddick is a great talent and high-character player with the potential to be both the present and the future. Could take over as alpha once Chandler Jones is done.

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8 hours ago, HoboRocket said:

To me, that's priority #1. Do we have other guys that can potentially contribute? Yes. We have such a great edge rush. But Reddick is a great talent and high-character player with the potential to be both the present and the future. Could take over as alpha once Chandler Jones is done.

You think Peterson is staying or not?

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9 hours ago, 11sanchez11 said:

 

Nice to see all three of Watt, Reddick, and Golden with positive win rates, and Watt obviously had a great win rate despite double teams. Now imagine Chandler Jones in that mix. Imagine Dennis Gardeck, the most efficient pass rusher in the league last year (on pace for something like 87 sacks last season, had he played a starter's worth of snaps).

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3 hours ago, UncleAdamz said:

You think Peterson is staying or not?

I think he leaves. He's kind of like Russ. He wasn't the happiest with the Cardinals and at various points over the last five years he's been like "Feeling cute, might request a trade later." Remember his "snakes in the grass" tweet? And he was honestly out-played by Dre Kirkpatrick and Kirkpatrick's game translates better into being 30+. Cheaper, too. And Peterson can't really handle deep speed anymore. How many slower corners do you want? Especially at that price tag. Peterson isn't a bad corner yet. He's still good. But he's no longer elite, or even a #1 kind of guy.

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28 minutes ago, HoboRocket said:

I think he leaves. He's kind of like Russ. He wasn't the happiest with the Cardinals and at various points over the last five years he's been like "Feeling cute, might request a trade later." Remember his "snakes in the grass" tweet? And he was honestly out-played by Dre Kirkpatrick and Kirkpatrick's game translates better into being 30+. Cheaper, too. And Peterson can't really handle deep speed anymore. How many slower corners do you want? Especially at that price tag. Peterson isn't a bad corner yet. He's still good. But he's no longer elite, or even a #1 kind of guy.

Yeah I'd have to agree, especially if we are trying to keep Reddick.

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On 3/3/2021 at 4:30 PM, HoboRocket said:

Kenny Golladay is my #1 FA crush. Dude is everything that the Cardinals need.

DET fans seem convinced he wont hit the market, and I dont blame them for thinking that way, but I think Golladay wants to get PAID and I just dont see him playing on a tag. He probably could have come back from his injury last year but was like "ehhh this team sucks and screw patricia, im a FA coming up, why risk it?"

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, N4L said:

DET fans seem convinced he wont hit the market, and I dont blame them for thinking that way, but I think Golladay wants to get PAID and I just dont see him playing on a tag. He probably could have come back from his injury last year but was like "ehhh this team sucks and screw patricia, im a FA coming up, why risk it?"

Screw Patricia lol. Yeah, honestly, from the reports I've read in the last day, Golladay is probably going to be out of the Cards' price range. He's exactly what we need at the moment, though: someone with the ability to threaten defenses downfield and make contested catches. His yards per reception average is borderline ridiculous. I know he's not a burner, but just being able to never truly be out of the play and beat single coverage at the catch point will either force defenses to create a little bit of room for our short-game targets or give Murray a second viable outlet beyond 10 yards.

Edited by HoboRocket
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