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Being thankful for the Arizona Cardinals in 2021

Carolina Panthers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images

We are through Thanksgiving but that does not mean we are done giving Thanks.

No, as Arizona Cardinals fans and frankly as Arizona Sports fans for the first time in a long time we have something to be thankful for.

Damian Parsons started yesterday by discussing it, now we will look at what the rest of the staff is thankful for.

Let’s take a look.

Blake Murphy (Blake talked about it yesterday but wanted to make sure everyone saw it):

This year it’s been one that personally...I might prefer to forget. But when it comes to the Cardinals that I probably won’t want to.

There’s plenty of things to be thankful for as the Cardinals go this season.

Kyler Murray’s emergence as a star and one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL this season might be the headliner, alongside a 3rd round pick for Rodney Hudson stabilizing some of the offensive line issues. He’s probably the MVP if he can bring his early season success with him the rest of the way home, 3 games missed aside.

Adding J.J. Watt seemed to galvanize the team on defense, and with a returning Chandler Jones and Markus Golden, the Cards’ defense is legit now that Isaiah Simmons and Byron Murphy have stepped forward.

Matt Prater’s clutch ability to hit field goals in some of the close games deserves a mention.

I could mention the hit on picks in Marco Wilson (solidifying corner) and Rondale Moore (the guy who seems to make the offensive scheme tick with his speed right now). Both were Steve Keim’s picks, of course.

Colt McCoy might even be THE biggest item as far as players go, to say nothing of Vance Joseph’s defense and leadership and how Kliff Kingsbury seems to have come into his own not simply as a clone of Sean McVay but as a fiery, creative, and centered veteran coach whose game-planning thus far has put Arizona ahead of all other teams through their bye week.

The thing I’m most thankful for the gift of second chances.

Not merely coming off of the 2020 season, a season in which some wondered if the Cards had peaked and this year would be the start of the end for Keim and Kingsbury. But in terms of each of the main architects, both were essentially at rock bottom.

Keim was coming off of not just the terrible 2018 season but also a widely covered incident in July that revealed a tumultuous personal life.

Kingsbury had just been fired from his alma mater, no less (imagine playing college football and setting records to get to go to the NFL and in your first job you do your best and...get fired from everyone you’ve known for like 15+ years).

He was essentially ridiculed by the national media

Vance Joseph was fired from his job as the Broncos head coach a year after he was nearly one and done and was handed:

-Mike McCoy, Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, and Paxton Lynch in the year 2017

-Case Keenum & Bill Musgrave in the year 2018

Basically, you could argue that he was given no shot on offense and wasn’t able to win more than 11 games in 2 seasons as a defensive coach.

And now?

They’re all looking forward to well-deserved contract extensions and it’s clear that with wins that did NOT have Kingsbury present, did NOT have Kyler Murray or DeAndre Hopkins, and did NOT have J.J. Watt or even Chandler Jones for a few games...

They all are at the peak of the NFL. And that’s something to be thankful for as I look at getting a second chance started in my own a lot of ways this year.

Deputy Editor Walter Mitchell:

Special thanks to the Arizona Cardinals for being a brotherhood of ballers and thus emerging as the best team in the NFL through the first eleven weeks.

John Buckley featured author:

I’m thankful for the several Cardinals I have on my fantasy teams. Especially for Zach Ertz and the big game he had to help me to a key win in my main league last week.

I’m also thankful for the bye week. It came at just the right time to get some key guys healthy and prepare for the stretch run in real football.

I’m thankful to have been proven wrong. I didn’t think we’d get much from the non-Hopkins WRs, didn’t think the CBs would hold up, and I’ve been very harsh on Kingsbury/Joseph in the past. Wrong, wrong, and wrong. Couldn’t be happier about it, though!

Finally, I’m just thankful that this team is relevant again. Cardinals fans are all-too used to the team being completely irrelevant at worst (the Wilks season) or also-rans at best (last season). We’re on top of the NFL world right now. Let’s hope we keep it up for the final six games... and beyond!

Seth Cox (some guy)

What I’ve been especially thankful for this year is being able to enjoy the Arizona Cardinals with my family.

It is hard to get a 15, 14, 12, and 10 year old boys to stay engaged in football that is not their own games or not Madden.

Especially when the Arizona Cardinals are bad.

However, when they are fun like they are this season, you are able to get together and enjoy the game together as a family, watch Kyler Murray, discuss Rondale Moore and Budda Baker’s style of play and how to replicate, discuss what makes Markus Golden so dynamic or what allows Jordan Hicks to continue to play.

This is the first season since my boys (I have four for those unaware and a princess of a nine-year old daughter) were old enough to sit and discuss the game and what better way to discuss and enjoy football than by watching the best team in the NFL.