We’ve finally made it, the 2021 season is upon us and there’s a lot riding on this season. It’s been six years since the Arizona Cardinals have made the playoffs. And after coming up short of a playoff berth by just one win last year, fans (and possibly ownership?) are out of patience.
The CB room and fanbase confidence in the season, seemed to take a major hit last week with the announcement of Malcolm Butler’s retirement and Darqueze Dennard being placed on IR. Essentially losing two of their Top 5 CBs in the matter of two days. We’re now calling for every CB who becomes available but Keim and the team are putting their faith in Murphy, Alford, and Marco Wilson. When asked if they thought the rookie was ready to start week 1 Coach Kingsbury had no doubt saying the stage isn’t too big for him.
JJ Watt says he’ll definitely be ready for Week 1. The Cards will also be getting back pass rusher Chandler Jones, which could end up being a much needed boost to the defense early in the season to help the recently depleted CB room. Rookie Zaven Collins will also help pressure the Quarterback, he’s an absolute Mack truck blitzing. He also has good instincts in coverage which will help the pass defense immediately and allow Simmons to move around all over the field like the true chess piece he was meant to be.
The offense made slightly tweaks this offseason for major improvements. Just like on Defense, AZ added a future HOFer to the Line who immediately upgrades the position and adds much needed veteran leadership in Rodney Hudson. No longer will we see the Center getting blown up into the backfield completely wrecking plays on a weekly basis. The additions of AJ Green and Rondale Moore also add a true outside threat and a much needed RAC threat to Kliff’s scheme. Moore can not only take the top off the defense down the seam, he can take the quick-game screens and sweeps for actual positive gains.
If it weren’t for a couple injuries to Kyler late in the year AZ would’ve likely made the playoffs last season. With the boost of weapons for Kyler and an upgrade to the interior OL, the offense should not only produce at a higher level but be able to sustain that production too. If the defense can make up for their CB depth deficiencies with an elite pass rush, this team has the potential to have a Top 10 Defense along with a Top 5 Offense. If that happens we’ll definitely be seeing the Cardinals in the playoffs again. If not, we’ll be seeing some major changes. But as long as the Cardinals can stay relatively healthy, 10 or 11 wins is very attainable in 2021.