Caveat: It is uncertain at this point who has been assigned to create this initial depth chart. It could be a member of the Cardinals’ personnel department. It could be a member of the coaching staff. Or, it could be a member of the Cardinals’ media team, like Darren Urban, for example, who may have been asked to create.this depth chart based on where and with what team (1st, 2nd, 3rd) the players have been lining up with during the training camp practices — while taking injuries into account.
While the new coaching staff has informed us that the offense is apt to play a fair share of 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TEs, 2 WRs) in its effort to focus on running the football —- this depth chart is catered to the Cardinals 11 (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WRs) personnel.
On the other side of the ball, the depth chart is catered to a 34 defense, although Jonathan Gannon and Nick Rallis have indicated that they intend to vary their defensive fronts when game situation warrant a different scheme.
Essentially, this initial depth chart of the JG era is set up exactly the way to was for the past four years under Kliff Kingsbury and Vance Joseph. That may be another reason to believe that this depth chart ia formatted in the same old “fill in the blanks” template given to a member of the Cardinals’ media.
With JG, Drew Petzing and Nick Rallis we are expecting nuanced schemes and alignments —- the type of which they are not going to reveal on a depth chart.
Arizona Cardinals Pre-Season Week 1 Depth Chart
- Kyler Murray and Zach Ertz are listed as starters —- in PUP brackets.
- Clayton Tune is listed as QB2 with David Blough as Q3 and Jeff Driskel as QB4 —- interesting in the case of Blough who has been fighting his way back to the field through injuries.
- Newcomers and newly activated players like RB Marlon Mack, C Pat Elflein and OLB B.J. Ojulari are listed as 3rd or 4th teamers, except TE Geoff Swaim who appears ahead of training camp standout TE Noah Togaia. As we know, Trey McBride has been missing practices due to injuries (undisclosed).
- RB Keaontay Ingram is listed as RB2, although he’s been missing practices due to injury, while RB Marlon Mack got some good touches during the Red/White Scrimmage. Yet, Mack is lasted last on the RB chart.
- C Jon Gaines II, who has been recently getting some reps at guard following Pat Elflein’s signing, is still listed as C2, which likely means that Gaines will be the 2nd team C this week because Elflein is still learning the playbook.
- What’s fascinating is the notion that the 2nd team offensive line (LT Jones, LG Daley, C Gaines II; RG Hayes, RT Beachum) might be just as capable certain ways as the 1st team (LT Humphries, LG Wilkinson, C Froholdt; RG Hernandez, RT Johnson Jr.). When could we ever say that in the past?
- At WR, with Brown, Moore and Pascal listed as 1st teamers, training camp standouts Michael Wilson and Greg Dortch are lsited as 2nd teasers. Interesting too that CFA Daniel Arias is listed as Marquise Brown’s backup.
- One of the biggest surprises is that Rashard Lawrence is listed as the team’s 3rd string nose tackle behind Leki Fotu and Kevin Strong. It might be as simple as Lawrence is still battling back from the hand and shoulder injuries he suffered last season. Or — it might be a motivational statement of sorts.
- The three defensive line starters are listed as: DE L.J. Collier; NT Leki Fotu and DE Jonathan Ledbetter. The second stringers are: DE Eric Banks, NT Kevin Strong and DE Carlos Watkins.
- 2022 PFF grades:
- Collier —- 149 snaps in SEA —-38.2 (he was playing 43 DE in SEA and now may be better suited to play 34 DE in ARI)
- Fotu —- 499 snaps in ARI —- 32.4
- Ledbetter —- 275 snaps in ARI—- 43.4
- Banks —- 14 snaps in ARI —- 67.3
- Strong —- 305 snaps in TEN —- 59.5
- Watkins —- 278 snaps in DAL —-53.1
- Lawrence —- 112 snaps in ARI —- 64.1. There are reasons to believe that when healthy, Lawrence has the most upside as any of the Cardinals front 3 defensive linemen.
- JG and Nick Rallis have been praising the effort and talent of the defensive line thus far. What are they seeing that Vance Joseph didn’t? Hopefully, a lot.
- At ILB the 1st teamers are Kyzir White at MIKE and Krys Barnes at WILB, with Josh Woods and Zeke Turner as the 2s, while rookies Owen Pappoe and Kyle Soelle are listed as the 3s.
- At OLB Zaven Collins is the anchor edge (Brandon Graham role) and Dennis Gardeck is the rush edge (Haason Reddick role) on the 1st team, with Cameron Thomas as 2nd anchor edge and Victor Dimukeje as 2nd rush edge (which should be B.J. Ojulari and Myjai Sanders, as Dimukeje is better suited to play anchor edge).
- Cameron Thomas is one of the best and most talented 11 players on defense.How are the coaches going to use him? How are they going to use Myjai Sanders?
- CB Antonio Hamilton Jr. is listed as the 1st team CB opposite CB1 Marco Wilson with Christian Matthew and Kei’Trel Clark as the primary backups. Rashad Fenton, with all of his talent, is a surprise listing at 3rd string. Has he been held back by injury?
- Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson are listed as the starters at safety, with Isaiah Simmons listed behind Thompson at FS —- which changes when Thompson is moved down to play nickel CB. Andre Chachere is listed ahead of JuJu Hughes, but Hughes, coming off a good week last week, may be making his 53 man roster push as the 4th safety.
- Aaron Brewer is the LS
- Matt Prater is the K
- They list Nolan Cooney OR Matt Haack as the P and placeholder (50/50 competition)
- Greg Dorth is the KR and PR, backed up by WRs Davion Davis and Kaden Davis
ROTB “Cinderella Story”Competition:
Each week, give us your choice of a player who is not listed as a 1st or 2nd teamer on the weekly depth chart whom you think will be a big second half Cinderella this week when the Cardinals play the Broncos.
If your player earns a PFF grade of over 65 or comes up big in the clutch, you get a point.
The ROTB member with the most correct choices (points) wins this Cardinals’ key chain:
Note: in case of a tie, the member who predicts the most number of correct players for the 53 man roster wins the prize.
My week one guess: WR Davion Davis (you could name him too if you want —-no one gets total dibs on a player).
What are your impressions about the Cardinals’ Week 1 pre-season depth chart?