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Captains Courageous

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NFL: Preseason-Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference a year makes.

Last year at this time, the Cardinals’ players voted in the following captains:

WR Larry Fitzgerald, QB Sam Bradford, CB Patrick Peterson, S Antoine Bethea, DE Chandler Jones, DT Corey Peters, K Phil Dawson.

This week the Cardinals announced their 2019 captains: WR Larry Fitzgerald, C A.Q. Shipley, DT Corey Peters, DE Chandler Jones and P Andy Lee.

In comparing the two groups, we might as well call on Old Spice’s Captain Obvious to tell us what we already know.

Two things to mention: (1) kudos for Fitzgerald, Peters and Jones for their continued leadership; (2) it would be appropriate to give a shout out to Antoine Bethea, who time and time again, stuck his nose into the beehive for the Cardinals and earned every stripe of his captaincy.

Giving Each Captain His Due:

WR Larry Fitzgerald—-consummate leader by example; a model of toughness and dedication.

C A.Q. Shipley—-a model of resiliency and perseverance.

DT Corey Peters—-a model of consistency and teamwork.

DE Chandler Jones—-a model of team spirit and self-motivation.

P Andy Lee—-a model of master craftsmanship and reliability.

My Thoughts (not stating them as fact):

  • It is better to have 5 captains instead of 7.
  • The fact that 3 of the 5 are linemen is an important distinction for a team that needs vast improvement in controlling the line of scrimmage.
  • All 5 of the captains have been with the Cardinals for more than 2 years. That is a meaningful aspect of merit.
  • And while none of the following players were appointed captain this year, the team’s success depends very much on their leadership: QB Kyler Murray, RB David Johnson, T Marcus Gilbert, T D.J. Humphries, G Justin Pugh, G J.R. Sweezy, TE Charles Clay, WR Christian Kirk, WR Michael Crabtree, DT Rodney Gunter, DT Clinton McDonald, LB Jordan Hicks, LB Haasan Reddick, LB Terrell Suggs, LB Brooks Reed, LB Cassius Marsh, CB Tramaine Brock, S D.J. Swearinger, S Budda Baker, LS Aaron Brewer, K Zane Gonzalez and ST aces Zeke Turner and Dennis Gardeck.

This is a team that needs to play with adrenaline, toughness, speed and passion. This is team that needs to show up big-time every week—-not just when they feel like it. This is a team that needs to thrive on relentless hustle and effort.

Question of the Day:

Do you think this will be a high effort team that, unlike last year, comes ready to play every week?

State your case. After pondering several of your responses I will offer mine. I think it’s a tough question.