In getting myself psyched up top watch the Cardinals versus the Jets, I wrote an article on Saturday wherein I chronicled the Cardinals’ 1st round draft history of taking a QB, from Joe Namath to Kyler Murray. I concluded by expressing my excitement and sense of relief that finally the Cardinals, for the first time in my 57 years as a fan have drafted a franchise QB.
When I went to read the comments on the article, I was shocked and dismayed to find that the thread was dominated by negative comments about Murray and a shared claim by three of the fans that Kyler is not a franchise QB.
Here are the 3 posts that stood out:
1—-The criticism of Kyler not being able to throw the intermediate ball is accurate. I think he can physically make those throws but his problem is field vision. He is having trouble seeing a certain distance downfield which is forcing him to scramble out of the pocket. His throws a great out route and back shoulder fade.... he’ll even his deep ball skills aren’t bad. That being said if you can’t hit the 10-20 yard pass then you are done as an offense.
2—-I don’t know if the Cardinals will ever find a franchise QB. Murray is a fantastic athlete but he couldn’t hit a Mack truck on a 10-20 yard intermediate throw. Murray would make an excellent QB to come off the bench for a couple weeks against defenses that are unprepared, but Murray doesn’t look like he could be a 16 game starter as he isn’t a pocket passer. He can hit some deep balls and check downs but he can’t get the intermediate throws from the pocket. Look how badly Murray missed a wide open Larry Fitzgerald running an intermediate route early in the game against the Panthers last Sunday as an example. It wasn’t even close.
3—-Long story short. Still looking for a franchise QB. Kyler definitely isn’t a franchise QB. He’s undersized gimmick, 100% system QB, who has only played in 1 system his entire life. Incapable of playing under center. Even Chris Simms (the super Kyler fan) is admitting Kyler is a one trick shotgun formation pony. Count me in as one of those fans who was suckered into the media Hype of Kliff and Kyler. Even bought into Blake Murphy’s hype of “the league ain’t ready” nonsense. Quoting Chris Simms again (from their weekly pro football talk show on YouTube), Arizona offense is predictable and becoming easy to Defend, they run shotgun 10 plays, then run 1 iformation play that’s not even a throwing play, which turns out to a reverse run, then back to 10 shotgun screen passes. This offense and this QB ARE exposed as frauds at this point.
The questions that I would like to ask these fans and the others who think Kyler is a “fraud” are:
- What rookie QB for the Cardinals has ever won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award?
- Did you watch Kyler yesterday with a senses of disgust? Did you even watch the game yesterday or allow yourself to enjoy the game?
- Did you dismiss any or all of Kyler’s success yesterday because he was playing the Jets?
- Do you realize that the majority of Kyler’s throws to DeAndre Hopkins have been in the 10-20 intermediate area and that Hopkins has caught 45 passes (#1 in NFL) on 53 targets for 525 yards (#1 in NFL), 2 TDs and 29 1st downs?
- Do you know that Kyler’s 84.9% completion rate to Hopkins is Hopkins’ best % rate thus far of his career, with the next highest being 70.6% from Deshaun Watson two years ago? Do you not consider Deshaun Watson to be a franchise QB?
- Do you acknowledge that Kyler made virtually every type of possible NFL throw yesterday while completing 27 of 37 passes at 72.9% for a career high 380 yards?
- Do you know that Kyler’s completion percentage on the season is at 69.6%? Do you remember that last time a Cardinals’ QB had a higher completion percentage after 5 games?
- Does it matter to you at all that Kyler has rushed 41 times for 296 yards at 7.2 yard per carry (#1 in NFL, which includes -20 yards for kneel downs) and 5 TDs (#2 in NFL) in 5 games?
- Did you blame the batted ball interception on him yesterday?
I thought Kyler played brilliantly in this game and relish the fact that over his past 8 contests in wins over the Browns, Seahawks and 49ers, he outplayed the likes of Baker Mayfield, Russell Wilson and Jimmy Garoppolo, while leading the team to a 5-3 record.
Hip on Hop:
One of the most auspicious developments off this game is learning that DeAndre Hopkins was lobbying with Kyler to throw deep to him when the Jets played a single high safety. As we saw, Hopkins has an uncanny way of getting just enough open to be able to contort his body in such a way as to catch the ball out of thin air in traffic. What a day! Hopkins hauled in 6 catches on 7 targets for 131 yards at 21.8 yards per catch and 1 37 yard TD.
The Case for Chase:
I think that Chase Edmonds is a franchise type RB because of how perfectly he fits into all aspects of the K-Raid.
While it has been frustration to watch Kenyan Drake not hit the holes faster and run laterally more than downhill on some of his carries, to his credit, he ran hard downhill in the 4th quarter and helped to seal the win.
I am hoping that with what the coaches are seeing when they finally put young players like Kylie Fitts and Dennis Gardeck in the game that they will give Eno Benjamin and Jonathan Ward a chance to see what they can do.
For over a year now I have been coveting Clemson RB Travis Etienne as the Cardinals’ 2021 1st round pick—-but if Chase Edmonds embraces a larger role and keeps thriving the way he is in the offense, I am 100% fine with Chase being the lead RB in this offense for years to come.
Popping the Kirk:
One of the most positive takeaways I had from yesterday’s game was the manner in which Kingsbury and Murray used WR Christian Kirk—-finally we are seeing a more steady diet of inside slants from Kirk, which helps him set up his out and wheel routes.
Next up is Andy Isabella, who missed a slant pass at the tips of his fingers, but rebounded nicely with 2 catches for 30 yards. Plus it was good to see Trent Sherfield catch a slant pass and KeeSean Johnson pick up a key 1st down in the 4th quarter.
One Hand Beauties:
Kudos to Fitz and Hop for two one-handed catch gems.
The 4th and 1 play action pass to TE Darrell Daniels was a sheer work of art. Not just in the play design (which K2 credits TE coach Steve Heiden for drawing up during the week), but for the flawless execution, which required Kyler Murray to put good air and touch on the pass in order to ensure that no defender could deflect it. Interesting too to see the Cardinals line up in an I formation on the play with newly promoted TE Evan Baylis (#89) at FB. Heiden got two of his dawgs in there on the play!
Kudos to G’s Max Garcia and Justin Murray for keeping the offense rolling while filling in for Justin Pugh and J.R. Sweezy.
While the Cardinals gave up 123 yards at 4.4 yards per carry versus the run, it was good to see Jordan Phillips and Leki Fotu flash at times. Fotu let a good tackle for loss slip away, but for him to bust up that play and move so well laterally at his size was impressive.
Hicks and Campbell:
While they still need to react quicker in snuffing out runs, they played and tackled more aggressively this week with both of them combining for 18 tackles. Hicks made a sensational chase tackle to stop a 3rd down conversion attempt on a jet sweep.
Tough Injury for Chandler Jones:
Man, you just have to wonder whether Chandler Jones had been trying to play injured the first few weeks, because he didn't seem quite himself. As always, he stayed upbeat and positive, like the consummate teammate he is, thus it is tough to see him suffer what looks to be a season ending biceps tear. Yet, in typical fashion Jones was tweeting his joy for the Cardinals win after the game.
Juice and Athleticism On The Edge:
Amazing to think that the Cardinals have had Dennis Gardeck for 3 years now and like Hasaan Reddick, they miscast him as an ILB, when, as K2 puts is he is “hell on wheels” from the edge. Man, to see Gardeck’s superb technique on his twist and rip rush and then on a pure bull rush was awesome! Gardeck was a sack master in college at the small school programs at West Virginia State and Sioux Falls.
Gardeck revealed that he told the Jets OL to take it easy on him because he was only a special teams player—-what does it say that by the 4th quarter they were double teaming him??? Which you can review thanks to Kyle’s tweets:
Dennis Gardeck didn't just get 2 hustle sacks in his first defensive action...this inside move was NASTY pic.twitter.com/W3kjuxh4Ls— Kyle (@marblekyle) October 12, 2020
While there was immediate talk from some Cardinals’ fans that the the team will now be looking to acquire Chandler Jones’ replacement, based on how well Gardeck and Kylie Fitts rushed from edges yesterday, and how the uber-athletic duo of Hasaan Reddick and Isaiah Simmons can be outstanding in the 34 base (particularly against mobile QBs like Wilson and Goff)—-and with Devon Kennard returning from his calf injury in the near future, the edge cupboard is better stocked than what may at first think. Plus, the Cardinals have two added nickel DE rush options in Zach Allen and Michael Dogbe.
Pressure on Pat P. :
Good to see Pat P. play more aggressively in the 1st half making a rare tackle in the box and then nearly pulling off that fumble recovery on the upended Jets’ receiver. But, in the 3rd quarter Pat P. seemed to lose his earlier focus, especially when picking up the holding call on Kylie Fitts’ superb sack of Flacco. It seems like almost every time Pat P. gets a holding call it comes on a key third down stop or sack or turnover. However, Pat P. rebounded by playing tighter coverage in the 4th quarter. We know all too well by now that Pat can turn his effort and focus on and off like a faucet.
The good news, imo, is that the Cardinals’ GM and the Arizona media are finally putting some pressure on Pat P., after a couple of years of offering excuses for him, while continuing to insist that he is an “elite” CB. Keim even called his subpar play out for being additionally unexpected coming from a team captain.
As we saw during the last three games of 2019 and for some stretches of time yesterday, Pat P. can still turn the water on hot when he desires to.
However, it appears that the Cardinals have some CB help on the way in Prince Amukamara. Dre Kirkpatrick looked a little more aggressive yesterday, but he’s been struggling in his consistency for weeks.
It would be fascinating if the coaches kept working Isaiah Simmons into the CB mix. As I have been saying for a few weeks, I believe Simmons could be a faster version of Richard Sherman, if give the chance to play the position. Plus, we know he will come up and put a lick on ball carriers. Adding more ballers with juice to this defense is a very exciting prospect, especially with Jalen Thompson and Chris Banjo on the verge of returning.
Just for once, wouldn’t it be great to see 11 hungry tacklers, fully amped-up ballers on the field at the same time for the Arizona Cardinals?
Budda the One-Armed Bandit:
Boy oh boy, it’s a whole different defense when Budda is on the field. Look at his line yesterday: a team leading 10 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB hit. Makes me so proud to see Budda wearing Larry Wilson’s #8 on his jersey. Budda is doing the Cardinals tribute to Larry Wilson justice.
Kudos to Curtis Riley:
For making the loudest ST’s tackle of the day. That must have felt like sweet redemption for him.
Edmonds’ Good Kickoff Return:
31 yards is way above NFL average.
Edmonds finished the game with 123 all-purpose yards and 1 TD.
Christian Kirk looked tentative on punt returns (3 for 8 yards). If Kirk is pulling a Pat P., it would be good to see more of Andy Isabella in that role.
Gonzalez and Lee:
Good day for Gonzalez: 1/1 GF, 3/3 XP.
Solid day for Lee: 3 punts 41.8 average, 1 inside 20. Lee sacrificed some distance for better hang time this week.
I Enjoyed the Game! I don’t take any opponent lightly or anything for granted (look at what the Dolphins did to the 49ers in Santa Clara). I think it’s a good practice to relish in the wins as much as we suffer in the losses. Therefore, it was very encouraging to see the Cardinals put aside the distraction that the game might be postponed or moved and generate the kind of strong effort and excitement in an early East Coast game.
The Cardinals are 3-2.
Imagine what this kind of juice will bring to the defense, by way of Isaiah Simmons: