Hard Knocks: In Season with the Arizona Cardinals went from being a unique and open look at the team’s ups and downs to one that was lambasted a week ago, with a shellacking by the 49ers following the dismissal of one of their coaches for conduct and their second running back in Eno Benjamin was...mostly about grasshoppers.
Fortunately, Week 3, while still being in a more positive light, seemed to shed some insight onto the team that’s relevant especially with Arizona back in the news as of late.
So without adieu, here are the top 3 takeaways from Hard Knocks last night:
#1. A new look at Kyler Murray in light of Patrick Peterson...?
So you’re telling me that HOURS before Hard Knocks came out, we get to see this footage drop from Patrick Peterson’s podcast?
"Kyler Murray don't care about nobody but Kyler Murray"— All Things Covered (@ATCoveredPod) November 30, 2022
Patrick Peterson comments on what's going on with his former team the Cardinals, since they are always in the news.
Full discussion https://t.co/imFgoT1fgs pic.twitter.com/1XYkBTJKzT
Well ain’t that juicy.
I was interested given that Murray would be back this week in how the cameras and even other teammates might document him given that the idea of him as this aloof, intense and focused individual separate from the team might fit into Peterson’s narrative and instead...we saw a more relaxed, dare I say leading side to Murray? Breaking down teammates, being celebrated, even having DeAndre Hopkins rave about him at one point.
It is a bit of a contrast as to just how much more energy there seemed to be with him back on the field, which might put to bed any questions about his status versus Colt McCoy. For after that and the rest? Remains to be seen.
And as far as Peterson goes, he had QUITE the amount of attention from his quote because, well, everyone likes a bit of drama (especially for a 4-8 team) don’t they?
Some Cardinals players and even one of their producers chimed in a bit pointing out that Peterson’s comments would be almost like the pot calling the kettle black, so to speak, given his own self-interest in the past...
You don’t kick a man when he’s already down,— Deandre Hopkins (@DeAndreHopkins) December 1, 2022
The comma here meaning (but) to my knowledge and while some wondered if he was referring to Murray or Peterson, another follow-up tweet seemed to clarify that matter...
“You gained attention but lost respect” Biggs Burke.— Deandre Hopkins (@DeAndreHopkins) December 1, 2022
For what it’s worth, a Cardinals producer also pointed out Peterson’s, uh, narrative of his own from a previous time in Arizona:
Immediately following his first game back from suspension in 2019, Patrick Peterson speaking about himself after his team beat the Giants, with Kyler Murray at QB. And Peterson wasn’t the one with the pick. pic.twitter.com/Izx9FBoOlj— Tim DeLaney (@tdelaneyaz) December 1, 2022
We’ll see if Murray keeps up the momentum or if the Cardinals fall apart given the struggles
2. The heart of DeAndre Hopkins
For those who don’t know, Sabrina Greenlee aka the mother of DeAndre Hopkins has a gut-wrenching story of domestic abuse, having had her sight taken away from her and having to have her son’s gameday exploits described to her, or a football handed to her from him after a touchdown gently.
Hopkins went on to talk not just about the aforementioned Murray in his 1-on-1 car segment but actually put together time, effort, talked with the single mothers who had been victims and even recruited players or his coach Kliff Kingsbury (and his model girlfriend who was televised for the first time) to serve on Thanksgiving day:
Normally you’d think of some of those laughs as tolerable or something that might not ring true, but there’s a genuineness to his perspective and to his work in terms of relating with the mothers and their kids.
His heart and character has truly been a sight to behold while he’s been in Arizona, and while the Cardinals may have lost the game on Sunday, Hop won a few more fans...and may have turned a few victims/survivors into something better and new. Believing in themselves.
Heaven knows that Hopkins seems to believe in them.
3. Arizona looked robbed on several occasions with looking at the turnover replays
It was Isaiah Simmons who was the focus of this week’s episode, and in a cruel twist of fate, just like Antonio Hamilton a week ago, the focal point turned into a costly mistake in-game. Some footage was interesting (for example, seeing Simmons in coverage on a #17 which was certainly Andy Isabella indicated that particular shot was from earlier weeks)
We saw the results of Hamilton pulling up on George Kittle, just as we were able to see the results of two players pulling along with Austin Ekeler only for a quick pass to Gerald Everett to sink the Cards on a 2-point conversion.
There were other episode highlights such as the focus without OL coach Sean Kugler, the Cardinals’ willingness and fight throughout the game as well as their OL/pass rush but it was the turnovers that weren’t, a fumble that was overturned and an interception that wasn’t.
Kliff Kingsbury seemed bewildered that the fumble was overturned (although unlike a Bruce Arians he didn’t unleash a stream of obscenity at the nearest referee to hang somewhere over Lake Michigan) and Zaven Collins seemed aghast that his catch was ruled an incomplete pass.
The few plays that followed where Kingsbury just seemed to throw his hands up were rough, but the events and sequence was far worse than than Hard Knocks shown as Arizona had a shorter punt, long return AND a penalty on special teams to set the Chargers up for the score.
By not showing the cacophony of events that gave away the game, it looked more like a bad break than it did giving the game away.
What stood out the most, though? It felt like a balloon had been untied and all the air let out of the building after the Cardinals, despite being the better team, lost a winnable game.
Kingsbury said very little and there was an air of shock that might linger over the bye week. We will have to see if that sucker punch straight to the gut can be overcome by the team in time for the Patriots, or if it’ll overcome them instead.