Michael Lombardi, the Athletic’s NFL insider, posted an outstanding article today in which he offered the most obvious and un-obvious questions about each of the 32 NFL teams.
Here is what Lombardi asked about the 2020 Cardinals:
OBVIOUS: Can the Cardinals improve on defense next season?
During Kliff Kingsbury’s reign as a head coach in college, his defensive unit was always one of the absolute worst in the NCAA. Last year, the Cardinals ranked 30th or worse in 23 defensive stats, and Chandler Jones had over half the sacks on the team. Who will help him? Will the addition of rookie first-rounder Isaiah Simmons along with free-agent defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and free agent linebacker Devon Kennard improve the unit?
NON-OBVIOUS: Will the Cards develop an effective Red Zone offense that will score touchdowns rather than settle for field goals?
The Cardinals ranked 29th in red zone scoring last year, and 30th in red zone third downs, the plays that make the difference between a touchdown and a field goal. How can they improve in this area?
Clearly, Mr. Lombardi was watching his fair share of Cardinals’ games last season.
Takeaways from Lombardi—-and follow-up questions for ROTB members: OBVIOUSLY POOR DEFENSE
- Kingsbury’s head coaching record in college and after one season in the NFL, has been dramatically affected by his team’s poor play on the defensive side of the ball. Can Kingsbury shake this stigma?
- 30th or worse in 23 defensive stats last season—-impressive that Lombardi took the time to research the 23 stat categories. As we know, this defense was historically bad. How improved can Cardinals’ fans expect the defense to be?
- Additions of Isaiah Simmons, Jordan Phillips and Devon Kennard could give the team a significant boost. But, Lombardi, at this point, is rightfully skeptical. In light of Lombardi pointing out that Chandler Jones had over half of the team’s sacks last year, is it realistic to believe that Simmons, Phillips and Kennard will combine for more sacks than Jones this season?
Takeaways from Lombardi—-and follow-up Q’s—-NON-OBVIOUS RED ZONE STRUGGLES
- Cardinals offense 29th in red zone scoring and 30th in red zone 3rd downs—-which led to more field goals than TDs. Do you think the lack of TD efficiency in the red zone was more related to play calling or to execution?
ROTB members: what are your answers? Reactions?