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Are you feeling thankful about the Arizona Cardinals this holiday season?

‘Tis the season for feeling thankful. Here is what one RotB writer is feeling thankful about as far as the Cardinals are concerned.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Houston Texans
Are you thankful that Kyler Murray is healthy and playing well for the Cardinals?
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

If you really think about it, the holiday season is all about making lists, isn’t it? You of course have the time-honored Christmas wish list. There’s also Santa’s naughty or nice list. Then on New Year’s you might have a list of resolutions.

And on Thanksgiving you have your list of things to be thankful for. You might not think there’s much to be thankful about when it comes to a 2-9 football team, but the Arizona Cardinals aren’t any old 2-9 football team. I think there’s actually quite a few things to be thankful about when it comes to this team.

Here’s my list. Then we’ll get to yours.

I’m thankful we beat the Cowboys.

We only have two wins so far this season, but one came against the Cowboys, perhaps our oldest rival and our one-time divisional foe back when we were in the NFC East. Cowboys fans always show up in droves to State Farm Stadium, so it always feels extra satisfying when we can beat them. Especially in a season where they’re considered a contender.

I’m thankful we’re playing hard.

Other than a couple of stinkers (I’m mostly thinking of the Bengals and Browns games here), we’ve been competitive into the second half of just about every game despite a rebuilding roster and missing many of our stars for large chunks of the season. It hasn’t always been pretty, but new coach Jonathan Gannon has this team giving it their all every Sunday. That wasn’t always the case in the waning days of the last regime.

I’m thankful for a promising rookie class.

Underwhelming draft classes were another feature of the old regime. Not under new GM Monti Ossenfort. Top pick OT Paris Johnson Jr. might not be having a dominant season, but he has played every single snap on offense. OLB BJ Ojulari and CB Garrett Williams are coming into their own after overcoming injuries. WR Michael Wilson is already one of, if not the, best receivers on the team. We’ve also got contributions from CB Kei’Trel Clark, DT Dante Stills, RB Emari Demercado, and others. It’s early yet, but this is one of the stronger Cardinals rookie classes I can remember.

I’m thankful our stars are back.

The rookies can’t do it all, though. We need our stars to contribute, too. Kyler Murray, James Conner, and Budda Baker all missed a ton of time, but they’re back now. Conner and Baker are back to leading by example and showing the rest of the roster that hard work pays off. And Kyler immediately won his first start in nearly a year and almost won against the referees Texans last weekend. It’s good to have some star power back on the field.

Finally, I’m thankful for what is looking like a bright future for this team.

We may be 2-9, but that’s a feature not a bug when it comes to the future of this franchise. We’re a shoo-in for a top-5 or so pick, and Ossenfort’s wheelings and dealings have helped us amass a war chest of picks we can use to replenish this talent-depleted roster. We can either trade our top pick back a bit to gather even more draft capital, or use it on a much-needed playmaker like Marvin Harrison Jr. If Ossenfort can nail another draft class and Gannon can get them playing hard, the turnaround for this team might be faster than anyone thinks. For the first time in a long time, the future is looking bright for the Arizona Cardinals.

Your Turn

So that’s what I’m thankful for when it comes to this team we all root for even when it hurts. But how about you? What are you thankful for, RotBers? Let’s spread some positivity about this perennially moribund NFL franchise in the comments.