The Arizona Cardinals are in the same position that they were at this point last year. Last June, Arizona broke in a new coach in Steve Wilks. They were hopeful that Josh Rosen was their quarterback of the future after selecting him with the 10th overall pick in the draft. Just one year later, Wilks is the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns and Rosen will be taking snaps for the Miami Dolphins. Talk about a quick reboot.
The Cardinals hired alleged offensive guru Kliff Kingsbury to be their head coach. They held the first pick in this year’s draft, and for the second year in a row selected a quarterback. Kyler Murray opted to play football instead of baseball. He will be asked to come in and try to turn a 3-13 franchise around. He will be the main focus this season since there is no hope for Arizona to compete. This does not mean that there won’t be any surprises. Here are four bold predictions for the 2019-2020 Cardinals.
1. They will be worse
The Cardinals are not going to be a good football team, but can they be worse than last season? Arizona finished 3-13 in 2018. That mark of three wins might be a stretch in 2019. The Cardinals will feature a quarterback who has never taken an NFL snap receiving signals from a coach with no NFL coaching experience. This is not exactly a recipe for success.
On the defensive side of the ball, Patrick Peterson will miss six games. They are switching to a 3-4 scheme defensively with Vance Joseph as the defensive coordinator. So, both sides of the ball will have major growing pains. There are some positives. Murray was an exciting player in college and is playing in an offense he is familiar with. Joseph is a respected defensive mind around the league. With that being said, it should all be taken with a grain of salt. It is extremely possible that this is a one or two win team that ends up with the No. 1 pick for the second year in a row.
2. David Johnson wins Comeback Player of the Year
This award has turned into one that is given to players who have a breakout season coming off of an injury. Not this time around. Johnson played all 16 games for the Cardinals last season. And it was not his best. He rushed for 940 yards, averaging just 3.6 yards per rush. He had seven rushing touchdowns. Johnson also saw his production in the receiving game decrease. He had just 76 targets compared to 120 in 2016, where he finished with 879 receiving yards.
To recap his incredible 2016 season, Johnson finished with 1,239 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. He missed the 2017 season when he fractured his wrist in the first quarter of the first game. Johnson can return to 2016 form this season. Defenses will be focusing on Johnson, however, his workload should be enough to put up big time fantasy numbers.
3. Kyler Murray is NOT the Rookie of the Year
It is hard to argue again Murray being the most exciting player in college football a season ago. He played on a dynamic offense and was the Heisman Trophy winner. That does not always transfer to the NFL. Murray is undersized. He was able to outrun defenders in college, but professional players are much faster. This is not to say that he will have a bad career, however, there will be some growing pains.
So if not Murray, who is the Rookie of the Year? Murray opened as the favorite with Washington Redskins’ Dwayne Haskins second on the list. Haskins has a chance to grab the award if he starts the season, but that is unlikely. Also, the Redskins feature what might be the worst receiving core in the league. Does anyone else feel like Josh Jacobs is going to have a monster rookie campaign? The Alabama product is in a perfect situation where he will be the every down back. Another surprise pick is Marquise Brown for the Baltimore Ravens. He has the speed to make some big plays down the field, and steal the award from Murray.
4. Patrick Peterson will not be on the team to end the season
Where else could he be? It is hard to say at this point in time. There were rumors saying that Peterson was going to be traded last season, but they never came to fruition. Peterson has two years left on his contract with the Cardinals. It is likely that he will be traded to a contender at some point throughout the season.
Peterson will miss six games this season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. This will not ruin his trade value. He came out recently and had some positive things to say about the Cardinals’ organization.
“The relationship is great,” Peterson said. “I know you guys speculated, me erasing the pictures, but I had a lot going on. Now I want to have a new look. I want to put a lot more fashion pictures up there right now. Instagram can definitely promote life after football, so I wanted to put some more fashionable looks on there. But for the most part, our relationship is great. I had a conversation with Steve (Keim) earlier, so I’m just looking forward to moving forward.”
This statement has people thinking that he will not be traded. It just seems like he is defending his actions on Instagram. If the opportunity to play for a contender presents itself, Peterson will jump at it.