Last season at the treading deadline, the Los Angeles Rams were two games behind the Cinderella Arizona Cardinals, whom they had lost to in their first meeting, and with the Super Bowl scheduled to be played in their own home stadium, while the Cardinals decided to stand pat, the Rams acquired Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr.
Would the Rams have won the Super Bowl without Von Miller and OBJ? Would they have even won the NFC West? Would they have even made the Super Bowl?
This season at the trading deadline, the Arizona Cardinals are two games behind the Cinderella Seattle Seahawks, whom they lost to in their first meeting, and with the Super Bowl scheduled to be played in their own home stadium, while the Seahawks decided to stand pat, go figure, so did the Cardinals.
Yesterday, while time was running out on the trading deadline, Wolf and Luke on Arizona Sports Radio 98.7 FM ran a segment on how and why Cardinals’ fans are so angry these days.
For starters, we watched the Bucs and Rams win in their own home stadiums the last two seasons.
For what the Cardinals have put their fans through this off-season, especially after the bottom fell out of what was once a very promising season last year, it appears that the Cardinals’ front office does not believe that the team is anywhere close to contending for a Super Bowl.
In essence, the Cardinals’ front office has lowered the bar.
By now the lowered bar, should be clear to the fans, who were not sent the memo.
Yet, we fans sat by this off-season, mind you —- knowing there Super Bowl is in Arizona this year.
- only to watch Kyler Murray make the whole off-season about him being paid as a top 3 NFL QB
- at the expense of Kyler scrubbing his social media accounts of all Cardinals’ related photos (thereby sending a message to interested GMs, “ I am not happy with the Cardinals, so come and get me”).
- at the expense of having Kyler’s rogue agent post a maniacally discursive RANSOM NOTE on Twitter.
- at the expense of Kyler electing to skip OTAs (even though he had the most guaranteed money of any player on the team at $35M, because of the 5th year option).
- Murray skipping OTAs hand in hand with his offensive line, two of whom were pondering retirement ,while another was holding out because he wanted to get his own bag in his second contract year.
- while Michael Bidwill shocked pretty much everyone by lavishing Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury with 5 year contract extensions. Wait, wasn’t MB furious at the end of last season?
- then Bidwill and Keim were busy over-paying veterans to stay in Arizona
- then ultimately, after trips to Allen Texas to try to persuade Kyler Murray and his family to want to stay in Arizona, they bestowed on him the second richest contract in the history of the NFL—- grossly and unnecessarily over-paying a young, immature QB, who has not only been given the red carpet treatment and given way much too soon, but who is a polarizing enigma who over the last 14 games (4-10) has been regressing —- to the point where the mere snapping of the football is a colossal havoc-inducing struggle.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, even thought the Cardinals have given up the second most number of points in the league and even though the defensive coordinator, Vance Joseph, continues to yo-yo his young players with star potential while continuing to run a defense that pay no clear attention to keeping contain, and as everyone defensive football coach (except Vance) knows: no contain —- no chance.
The bar has now been set so low that Joseph is being lauded as the only good, head coach worthy member of the staff —- amidst a hugely false perception among pundits and fans that Joseph has little to nothing to work with.
Yeah, imagine how tough it is for Vance getting stuck with JJ Watt, Zach Allen, Rashard Lawrence, Markus Golden, Dennis Gardeck, Isaiah Simmons, Zaven Collins, Budda Baker, Jalen Thompson, Byron Murphy and Trayvon Mullen, plus up and coming talents like Marco Wilson, Antonio Hamilton, Cameron Thomas, Myjai Sanders, Leki Fotu and Jesse Luketa.
All of this begs the questions —-
- Do the Cardinals even know the Super bowl is in Arizona this year?
- What in the world is their plan?
- Who is being held accountable?
- Why did Bidwill and Keim seem more content to acquire compensatory draft picks during the free agency of a Super Bowl year, than trying to add a few bona-fide game-changers at positions of need? (Please don’t fall for the salary cap excuse)
With the chance to do something this week, Bidwill and Keim could have acquired the NFL’s leading tackler in LB Raquon Smith for 2nd and 4th round picks —- which could have been the perfect counter for now playing in a division that boasts RBs Christian McCaffrey and emerging stud Kenneth Walker III (whom the Cardinals didn't tackle a few weeks ago).
Does anyone think that Roquan Smith would have been an upgrade over Ben Niemann and Nick Vigil?
As it turned out, the Cardinals could have acquired one of the more prolific edge rushers in the NFL in Bradley Chubb for a 1st and 3rd (comp) picks. As it stands right now, Chubb has more sacks at 5.5 than all of the Cardinals’ edge rushers combined. That could have taken the sting out of the Cardinals’ colossal mishandling of Haason Reddick, who also has 5.5 sacks for the 7-0 Eagles this season thus far.
Speaking of the 7-0 Eagles, despite already having 4 talented edge rushers in Brandon Graham, Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat and Derek Barnett, they went out and traded for Robert Quinn, only giving upon a 4th round pick while adroitly managing to get the Bears to eat the majority of his salary.
Yeah, Wolf and Luke are spot-on, many Cardinals’ fans are not only angry, we are lost at sea as to what in the world the is the Cardinals’ plan?
Do the Cardinals even have a plan?
Is the plan “wait and see”?
The one bit of solace that angry and frustrated fans like myself are feeling today after the Cardinals once again did nothing at the trading deadline —- is the hope that Michael Bidwill is planning to make a long-needed change at GM. And in order to give a new GM the best chance in 2023, the Cardinals have held on to all of their remaining draft picks:
- Round 1
- Round 2
- Round 3
- Round 3 (comp)
- Round 4
- Round 5 (comp)
- Round 6
- Round 6 (comp)
- Round 5 (traded for Cody Ford)
- Round 7 (traded for Trayvon Mullen —- which won’t be converted into a 6th because Mullen has not been active for 10 games)
Yesterday’s Early AM Poll —- Final results
What player would you like to see in red sometime today?— Walter B J Mitchell (@WBJMItch) November 1, 2022
There you have it. Many fans are far more than being mad, they are fed up.
Week after week for 8 games (plus for the vast majority of the disappointing games down the stretch last year), we fans have seen, much to our frustration and disgust, no tangible senses of urgency and/or preparedness from the Cardinals in the first quarters of their games. If the organization doesn’t care enough about this, why should we?
Man, what is so mystifying and what burns so bad, is how some of the Cardinals’ players don’t allow themselves to be inspired by the likes of JJ Watt and Budda Baker. Leadership doesn’t get better than that. But, like the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but...”
But, as we know, true leadership of an organization should always begin at the very top.
Having gone 4-10 over their last 14 games, the Cardinals are now right where they belong —- in the cellar of the NFC West as one of the most under-achieving teams in the NFL.
If the team doesn’t change the script for this Sunday’s rematch with the Seahawks, then you can stick a fork in the 2023 Cardinals.
Yesterday’s inactivity was no surprise —- it was right up there with the team signing no game-changing outside veteran free agents during the off-season and, for that matter, right up there with the GM and coaches canceling practice the day after final cuts.
The Cardinals are not only wasting their own time, they are wasting ours.
And we fans are the ones who are paying (literally and figuratively) for this sh^t.
With another lackluster, error-prone performance on Sunday, with Hard Knocks rolling their cameras on the Cardinals for all to see, perhaps it would be wise of HBO to change the title of this woeful show to “Hard Play Clocks.”