On-Line NFL Pool
NFL Fight Songs
"The Cardinal" Bio
The Playoff Race
BACK IN ACTION
- - - - - And so it beings. The 2018 Arizona Cardinals are off on a new era, under the direction of Steve Wilks and a new philosophy. Gone may be the days of the high-flying aerial attack, thrilling downfield bombs, and mangled quarterback bodies on the turf wearing the red and white. Instead, a methodically balanced run-heavy assault with short (safe) passes may be in our future, and given new QB Sam Bradford's injury history, this might just work. With our personnel, this might be our only choice. The team features untested new faces at just about every position, a necessity thanks to the geriatric roster from 2017, and thus is poised for a rebuilding project that will be several years in the making. But before we think about 2019, the Cardinals need to try to avoid being the worst team in the NFL in 2018. And if the opening pre-season victory over the LA Chargers is any indication, it will take a healthy corps of starters to make this reality.
- - - - - The offensive line performed well in the opening series, allowing David Johnson to show that at least his hips and his legs still have it. However, should any of Humphries, Iupati, Cole, Pugh, or Smith go down with an injury, the pickings were dangerously slim among the reserves. Wetzel was exposed on more than a few plays, and Holden has yet to show anything whatsoever to have justified spending a draft pick on him. Munyer couldn't even grasp the crucial task of delivering the snap to the quarterback. Guards Boehm and Allen were only slightly less horrific, so it might be up to rookie Korey Cunningham to step up and show us what he can do with the second unit. If he cannot beat out any of these stiffs, he doesn't deserve a roster spot.
- - - - - A welcomed improvement emerged among the tight ends, with Holmes and Seals-Jones performing admirably with the first teamers in Gresham's absence, particularly in the run-blocking department. Beyond them, there was not much to write home about, though if Bryce Williams could have teleported into Troy Niklas' body last December for one play, we might have won 9 games instead of only 8. With a roster spot going to a fullback, I expect to see only three TEs make the squad, so the rest may not matter anyway.
- - - - - On the defensive front line, Nkemdiche showed more of a disruptive presence, and Cap Capi once again had a strong showing in a pre-season outing, likely earning reps with at least the second unit. Mayowa, Dora, and Smith would be the other hopefuls opposite of Jones, while Golden is still out with injury.
- - - - - The linebacker unit remains a mystery, with Bucannon and Bynes both injured, and Cash, who showed the most promise in last week's game, gone and off the roster due to injury. Reddick whiffed on a few tackles, but made a few plays as well. After him. . . nothing. Aside from one open-field tackle, Wright still hasn't impressed me one bit. Gardeck made the game-winning tackle, turning back the Chargers on the goal-line on the final play. For that, we thank him, and he will have a story to tell his grandchildren. But that will probably be as close to NFL glory as he'll ever get.
- - - - - Lastly, the secondary was notable for the absolutely shameful showing by Brandon Williams in the closing minutes. Just the fact that he was still on the field in that situation was truly a bad sign for him, but to make matters tenfold worse by being flagged multiple times for pass interference, this should have been disqualifying.
QB (3): BRADFORD, ROSEN. Glennon has been outplayed by Kanoff, but I find it unlikely that the team would keep two rookies to backup Bradford.
RB (4): JOHNSON, EDMONDS, FOSTER, LOGAN. Badie out. I have Penny fighting it out for FB.
FB (1): COLEMAN. Penny has a long haul in front of him to make the roster.
WR (5): FITZGERALD, KIRK, BUTLER. Nelson and Williams have incumbency on their side. The sixth spot, if there even is one is up for grabs.
OL (8): HUMPHRIES, IUPATI, COLE, PUGH, SMITH. Three guys from the rest? Good luck. Cunningham, Wetzel, Munyer (sigh), for now, I guess.
TE (3): GRESHAM, HOLMES, SEALS-JONES. Not much shown from the others.
DT (4): PETERS, NKEMDICHE, PIERRE, GUNTER.
DE (5): JONES, GOLDEN. Mayowa, Dora, and Smith for now. Capi still in the hunt.
LB (6): BUCANNON, BYNES, REDDICK. There aren't three more from the rest. Got to find someone on another roster.
DB (9): PETERSON, BETHEA, BAKER, FORD, BENWIKERE. Taylor and Boston were fine in their action. Campbell, by virtue of being a drafted rookie, with a better shot than the rest. Howard stood out the most of the rest, in a good way. Williams stood out the most, period (sigh).
ST (3): BREWER, LEE, DAWSON. McCrane gets to pad his resume, only having a shot if there is a complete meltdown or injury.
WILD CARD (2): A sixth WR, ninth OL, fourth TE? Some special teams standouts, if one or two turn up, most likely.
NEXT WEEK, @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: We would like to see Josh Rosen get a few snaps with the starting OL, as opposed to forcing him to scurry around following a bad snap or blunders by the tackles. This might give the WRs a chance to show some separation amongst themselves. The linebacking mess needs to be addressed, and hopefully this isn't already too late as I fear.
TWENTY-THIRD SEASON UNDERWAY
- - - - - As you've probably already noticed, "The Cardinal's" Nest, the Internet's longest-running website dedicated to the Arizona Cardinals, has
undergone a few changes over the years as we embark on our 23rd season. This newer setup will hopefully make it easier for you, the fans, to navigate
these pages. After all, isn't life already hard enough being a Cardinals fan?
- - - - - The bar at the left will contain the links to the other pages on this site, including icons for some of the larger features.
Meanwhile, play in my 22nd-annual On-Line NFL Pool has begun and the Chicago Cardinals Photo
Album, featuring photos and other game memorabilia from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s has opened. Also, check out the
"Arizona Sports Fans" Message Board. As always, if you have any
suggestions, comments, or questions, please feel free to send me E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org;
I always enjoy hearing from Cardinals fans around the country and the world.