A season rife with struggles has shown the Arizona Cardinals to be an average team. Yet, from the mouth, or rather fingers of a group of writers, the Arizona Cardinals being average is better than expected.
Bleacher Report NFL 1000 is a grading service, similar to Pro Football Focus, who have a number of people I consider friends working for them.
Maybe I need to re-think those friendships... I kid.
The Cardinals were featured heavily on the list of worst players at their position in 2017.
Let’s take a look at the... players working hard but not making an impact according to B/R.
QB: Blaine Gabbert (4th worst in NFL)
Arizona turned to Gabbert after injuries to starter Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton, and while the former first-round pick showed flashes, he struggled with turnovers and in the face of pressure, and was sent back to the bench this week.
RB: Chris Johnson (2nd worst)
Chris Johnson was initially released by the Cardinals at the start of the season after a poor training camp, but he was soon re-signed after David Johnson went down injured. However, Johnson isn't the back he used to be, lacking the explosion and quickness he once had that enabled him to run away from defenders.
TE: Troy Niklas (2nd worst)
Second on this list is Troy Niklas, who was drafted to be a do-it-all player for the Arizona Cardinals.He has improved slightly as a receiver, but he has only has 19 career catches. Niklas is a free agent after the season and isn't a lock to be on an NFL roster at this time next year.
C: A.Q. Shipley (2nd Worst)
At 6'1" and 307 pounds, Shipley of the Cardinals is built like a bowling ball. While he has a natural stance that gives him a low pad level in the run game, his short arms and relative lack of mobility are major liabilities.
DT: Rodney Gunter (Worst)
Almost at the end of Year 3, Gunter has one tackle at or behind the line of scrimmage this season, three fewer than rookie defensive back Budda Baker, who only recently started seeing significant playing time on defense.
DE: Robert Nkemdiche (5th worst)
He has all of the potential in the world, and at 23 years old has plenty of time left in his career, but he's played the fewest snaps of any defensive lineman in Arizona this year, despite being their first-round pick just one year ago.
OLB: Kareem Martin (Worst)
The Cardinals have tried to minimize his snaps by putting Haason Reddick in his spot as a pass-rusher. Martin was not getting any push as a pass-rusher and did not provide any value as a run defender.
How the Cardinals are 6-8 with a chance to win their next two games is beyond me if this is the grading that is coming out of B/R.
I cross-referenced with Pro Football Focus’ grades and...
Only Chris Johnson wasn’t listed. It... makes sense that B/R would grade this way when it is similar to what PFF thinks.
Anyway you slice it, the job Bruce Arians has done should be commended if this is what he is working with.