If you haven’t as yet watched the Cardinals’ new Flight Plan, the production crew did a fabulous job of highlighting the literal and figurative manifestations of what the “Planting Roots” title suggests for the 2022-2023 Arizona Cardinals.
The focus of this episode is on three core offensive pillars (all of whom repesrented the Cardinals’ offense in the 2021 Pro Bowl in addition to Budda Baker on defense): Kyler Murray, D.J. Humphries and James Conner.
- Kyler, D,J, and James have all been re-signed to long-term deals this season.
- Kyler looks more confident and self-assured than ever before. Where once he was awkward and reticent behind the mic in press conferences, he is now articulate and gregarious.
- Now that Kyler no longer has to be concerned about his long-term stability with the club, he appears to be fully invested in doing his very best to throw sunlight and water on the team’s roots.
- Michael Bidwill and Steve Keim electing to highlight Kyler’s pushback presser in response to the infamous “homework” clause and questions surrounding his work ethic, is an indication that the brass is very pleased with how Kyler has responded to the scrutiny.
- Steve Keim speaks very highly of D.J. Humphries and what he means to the success of the team at such a critical position on the offense. Just as a reminder, D.J. is the second of the Cardinals 1st round picks during the Arizona era to sign a third long-term contract. The only other is Larry Fitzgerald.
- The bell cow of the production is James Conner. His charismatic leadership and sense of carpe diem are on full display, as highlighted by his daily pushups regimen with his fellow running backs (plus Antoine Wesley) and the clips of his explosive runs in practice.
- The camaraderie of the running back unit has a special feel, as evidenced throughout the interviews and video clips of Eno Benjamin, Jonathan Ward and Darrel Williams.
- The clips of Eno “trucking” the 49ers’ Dre Kirkpatrick for his 1st NFL TD and J-Ward making the miraculous, ball-on-helmet-pinning catch versus the Cowboys are goose-bump inducing.
- The coup de gras is a privileged glimpse of the literal “Planting Roots” from the Cardinals long-time field operations supervisor, Andrew Levy. This is a sweet reminder of how state-of-the-art the Cardinals’ stadium is with its retractable grass field and retractable roof. The Cardinals are one of the only NFL teams that practice on their home stadium field during training camp.
- The roots that the Cardinals are trying to plant this season are largely focused on the team providing a stronger showing at home, following their disappointing 3-5 home performance in 2021 and heading to a brand new season where the Super Bowl will be determined on their very own field.
- Perhaps the spirit of the Cardinals’ 2022-2023 plight can be characterized by Teddy Roosevelt’s popular quote: “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.”
- One would imagine that on the night of February 13, 2023, the stars will be twinkling above the open roof at State Farm Stadium, while the game will be fought and won on the lush green rollout of the home-cultivated grass below.