The calendar flips to 2023 in just a few short days. For Cardinals fans, it can’t come soon enough—to say it’s been a rough year would be an understatement. But with the new year, tradition has it, comes resolutions.
Maybe you’ll resolve to get back to the gym. Cut out the fast food. Read a book a month. Try a Dryuary. Whatever changes you want to make, January 1 is the time to make them.
The same goes for the Arizona Cardinals—and they need more changes than just about any team in the league. With the new year approaching, here are a few resolutions I hope the Cardinals make for 2023.
Lose the Final Two Games
I’ll admit it—this one makes me feel a bit icky. No one likes rooting against their own team (except maybe Browns fans who understandably can’t cheer for Deshaun Watson). But this is the position the Cardinals organization has put its fans in this year. With so many players injured and so many free agents to be (and a likely organizational rehaul coming), there’s no real development that can take place. The best the team can hope for is to lose these final two games and get the best draft pick possible—maybe as high as the No. 2 pick. That starts right on Jan. 1 with a tank-tastic battle against the Atlanta Falcons.
Embrace the Youth Movement
Thankfully, the team has already seemed to embrace this one—A.J. Green only played 20 snaps against the Bucs compared to 58 for Greg Dortch. Why Dortch was so far buried down the depth chart—and why A.J. Green is even on the team in the first place—is almost unfathomable, but last week was a step in the right direction. So, too, is J.J. Watt’s retirement—he’s an all-time great and I’m glad he got to call the desert his home for his final two seasons, but this team really needs to start developing younger talent. For far too long the approach has been to make splashy trades for established players or sign aging vets to prove-it deals. The best that got us was last year’s 10-2 start followed by a complete collapse. It’s time to start giving younger players a shot and building through the draft.
Resign Byron Murphy and Zach Allen
This goes hand-in-hand with the last one. Murphy and Allen are two homegrown players coming off of strong seasons who simply have to be resigned. Unfortunately, due to either front-office negligence or incompetence, we weren’t able to extend either player on their rookie deal so they’ll both be UFAs, and likely not cheap. But they’ll both be longtime starters in this league, and hopefully for the team that drafted them. Resigning good young players like these two should be priority No. 1 this offseason.
Trade Back in the Draft
As tempting as it might be to stand pat and draft juggernaut like Will Anderson or Jalen Carter, this team has too many roster holes that won’t be fixed by a single stud D-lineman. As I’ve said before, the dream scenario would be to be able to trade back with a QB-needy team for a handsome cachet of early-round picks this year and next. For all of his flaws as a GM, Steve Keim as done well at trading early picks, but the time has come to end that approach and stockpile as many picks as we can—just hopefully with another GM making them.
Clean House on the Sidelines and in the Front Office
I know it’s usually spring cleaning, but this organization is in desperate need of some winter cleaning. And the writing is on the wall (which is exactly why we need to clean—damn dirty walls), with Keim already on leave and Kliff Kingsbury potentially considering resigning. The most radical—and needed—New Year’s change this team could make would be to move on from both and go into the 2023 with a new approach. Sean Payton will obviously be high up on the wishlist (although Christmas has already passed), but at this point anyone would be an improvement over Keim and (likely—he still has supporters) Kingsbury. I’m all for embracing the “new year, new you” philosophy, so I’m hoping Michael Bidwill feels the same and brings in all new front office and sideline leadership for 2023.
It’s time for change with this organization. (At least at coach/GM—there’s no realistic way we can move on from Kyler at this point, whether or not you believe we should.) That’s where I’m at. What about you, RotBers? Share your Cardinals—or personal—resolutions in the comments.