15 thoughts - training camp

Gandhi

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I have my views on if I think training camp should happen, but I will keep them to myself. It looks like it is going to start, and if it will continue all the way through, these are things I will be tracking:

1 – Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury together year two.

Nuff said.

2 – I don’t know if it would be a good idea to primarily use Isaiah Simmons at one spot. There certainly are some logic to it, but that was (hopefully) not what he was drafted for, and can he even go back to his former flexibility after some time, when he gets acclimated to the NFL?

3 – I really look forward to see Chase Edmonds as a true, fulltime #2. I liked him last season.

4 – I cannot remember being this excited with the defensive line since Dockett and Calais Campbell played there. I have come around on Leki Fotu, and I have always been high on Rashad Lawrence. Couple that with highly underrated Corey Peters, maybe Jordan Phillips can keep it up, and what about Zach Allen? You could even argue that Miles Brown and Michael Dogbe could theoretically built on their positive first year.

5 – And about Leki Fotu. I have pretty big trust in Brentson Bucker, so to hear he was a big proponent of Fotu made me smile.

6 – Between Zeke Turner, Dennis Gardeck, Tanner Vallejo and Evan Weaver they could have some really good special teams. Of course, provided they keep all four, which seems like a longshot.

7 – I think they said that DeVondre Campbell was their #1 free agent. What can he do? I know what he has shown before, but that is some time ago. It would be huge if he is good.

8 – The relationship between Dana Holgerson (head coach of University of Houston) and Kliff Kingsbury is not your typical “their coaching-paths crossed at X team.” These guys were roommates in college. They are very, very good friends, and they know literally everything, from the smallest detail to the grand scheme, about how the other sees and think football. So, when Dana Holgerson says “yo, Kliff! You know the upcoming draft? I think you would like this Josh Jones-dude” – then I start to listen.

9 – Of course the rest of the offensive line is of the absolute utmost interest as well. My preferred five would be Humphries, Pugh, Cole, Justin Murray, Marcus Gilbert. I don’t think it should be underestimated that this unit (and all those five guys) has been under Sean Kugler’s guidance for a long time now. If Kugler is as good as we all hope, that should be clear and obvious this season.

As everyone of course agrees on, my guy, the future All-Pro, Brett Toth will dominate later in the season, but apparently Kingsbury and Sean Kugler has not realized yet, so we will all have to wait a little while.

10 – Haason Reddick has proved to be a very average off ball-linebacker, but he was drafted after being a pure pass rusher for Temple – be it from the inside or the outside. What if he went back fulltime? He can’t read the plays, but he doesn’t have to. He is very explosive, and it could be a success to just tell him to go after the quarterback. By my counting, this would be the fourth “last chance”, but it is not like the Cards have many great edge rushers outside of Chandler Jones, so I would try it.

11 - Jalen Thompson was solid last season. Can he take a step up?

12 – Would you really care if Andy Isabella did not take the expected step forward? I wouldn’t. I might shrug my shoulders, but I would not spent more energy on it than that.

13 – I think that safety is their most vulnerable position, so who’s out there in free agency? Well, I am glad you asked.

Logan Ryan is more of a nickel cornerback, but a very good one at that. In reality has did a lot of different things for the Titans last season, and the Cards’ staff are bad coaches if they could not find a spot for him.

Tony Jefferson you already know.

Reshad Jones had a downyear in 2019 (he was actually put on injury reserve after four games), but he was pretty good before that.

14 – The tight ends.

Last year Maxx Williams had a net yards over average of 214.35. That is extraordinary. The rushing attack were almost a yard better per run with Williams on the field. That is more significant that every single one of the regular starts on the offensive line. Yeah, I am excited about Williams.

Is Dan Arnold for real? I know that they were really excited about him late last season, so will they try to involve him more in the offense? And is he even big enough for a bigger role with only 220 lbs. distributed throughout his 6-6 height?

And I look forward to hear about newcomer Dylan Cantrell, who Kingsbury knows very well – and deployed a lot – from the Texas Tech-days. For all I know he could do absolutely nothing effective, but he is still a very fascinating story, to me.

15 – When they signed all the undrafted rookies, I got on record saying that cornerback Zane Lewis was a guy to keep an eye on, and from the looks on it on paper, it does not seem to be an impossible task to break into the cornerback-unit. Okay, at the end of training camp 2019 they only kept five cornerbacks, and on the roster after the season only three had played more than 25% of the snaps (five had gotten snaps at all), so yeah, it is still a longshot for Lewis. We will see.
 

Proximo

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I don't see how Devondre Campbell will even hardly see the field if Simmons is relegated to just middle linebacker.

I think Simmons will become our designated pass rusher from outside linebacker on third and longs. Basically I think Simmons is going to take some of Kennard and and Jalen Thompsons playing time, and most of Campbell's.

I think you are wrong about Isabella - we need him to be our deep threat badly. I think he is the absolute key to opening up the passing game.

I for one am worried about our D-line. Fotu looked lost in the video I have watched of him in college, yeah he is physically gifted, but I don't think he knows how to play. Rashard Lawrence is a try hard guy, but he is not very physically gifted and I think that will show up in the NFL, much the way it did for Zach Allen last year.

Phillips is not a pass rusher - he had less than 30 pressures that he miraculously got 9.5 sacks out of last year. That is a total fluke. We way way over paid him IMO. Buckner is going to need to earn his money with this group.

I think one of the tackles is going to be tried out at guard - personally I think it will be Josh Jones just to get him on the field.

I see no reason Dan Arnold should not be a major factor - unless Cliff is determined to go back to 4 WR formations which I don't think he is.

I agree with you on Chase Edmonds. Rewatching the games from last year he looked really good. I feel like he is nearly Drake's equal.
 
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Gandhi

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I for one am worried about our D-line. Fotu looked lost in the video I have watched of him in college, yeah he is physically gifted, but I don't think he knows how to play. Rashard Lawrence is a try hard guy, but he is not very physically gifted and I think that will show up in the NFL, much the way it did for Zach Allen last year.

Oh, but then I phrased it wrong. I am certainly worried as well. It is actually the position group I am most nervous about, both because I am a defense-guy and I think the defensive line is the key to success, and also because the unit has underperformed for years. I am just excited about it. Both personnel guys and coaches has repeatedly said that Fotu was deployed differently at Utah than he will be here – most likely meaning that his tape are useless to us fans that don’t understand the nuances. At least I don’t understand it. So I get excited when Buckner praises a physical specimen like that, and says he could see him flourish with the new scheme. And I think you are underestimating Lawrence. I did not see the same as you.

And Zach Allen played in 3.5 games last season before going on IR. I think it is unfair to judge him as physically limit from that sample size.
 
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Gandhi

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12 - Why don’t you care if Andy Isabella improves or not?

Yes, you are right, it was a bad use of words. I have simply given up on him already. Of course I know that is way too early, but I think it is very worrying when such a high draft pick cannot get on the field to save his life in an average wide receiver-unit, and in an offense where the playcaller value his pass catchers highly. I had bigger expectations for Brandon Williams going in to his second season.

But of course you are right. I do care.
 
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Gandhi

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Gandhi, to paraphrase George M. Cohan, "My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I certainly thank you."

Football news at last!!

Always at your service, Garth.
 

BigRedRage

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Gandhi, to paraphrase George M. Cohan, "My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I certainly thank you."

Football news at last!!
I care if he improves but ultimately if he does not, I forget he even exists half the time so it wouldnt matter.
 

Solar7

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2 – I don’t know if it would be a good idea to primarily use Isaiah Simmons at one spot. There certainly are some logic to it, but that was (hopefully) not what he was drafted for, and can he even go back to his former flexibility after some time, when he gets acclimated to the NFL?
I think he should move around eventually, but for right now, let's put him in one spot. Any other season, I'd say we should fully implement his versatility as soon as possible.

3 – I really look forward to see Chase Edmonds as a true, fulltime #2. I liked him last season.
I think he's pretty pedestrian, but not far off from Kenyan Drake. I hope to improve in the future, but I think both will have some decent games. To me, our rushing attack will be alright, but not special. That's fine though, can't win them all.

4 – I cannot remember being this excited with the defensive line since Dockett and Calais Campbell played there. I have come around on Leki Fotu, and I have always been high on Rashad Lawrence. Couple that with highly underrated Corey Peters, maybe Jordan Phillips can keep it up, and what about Zach Allen? You could even argue that Miles Brown and Michael Dogbe could theoretically built on their positive first year.
Lots of potential here, and a decent rotation. I envision major improvement over last year, and if Phillips can play like he did in Buffalo, that'd make this an intriguing unit. I'm excited to watch them get out there!

9 – Of course the rest of the offensive line is of the absolute utmost interest as well. My preferred five would be Humphries, Pugh, Cole, Justin Murray, Marcus Gilbert. I don’t think it should be underestimated that this unit (and all those five guys) has been under Sean Kugler’s guidance for a long time now. If Kugler is as good as we all hope, that should be clear and obvious this season.
The OL will be important. I want Murray off the field unless it's an emergency. Sweezy did yeoman's work last year. Cole is my biggest question mark. I wanted him to win the starting job last year, and losing it without question to an aging Shipley coming off of a major knee injury doesn't inspire any confidence this year. I'm rooting for Cole, but see center as one of the most concerning positions on the roster.

10 – Haason Reddick
(Deleted the rest for the sake of length) It's not Reddick's fault he was overdrafted, but I think he's dead in the water.

11 - Jalen Thompson was solid last season. Can he take a step up?
I like him a lot as a guy who doesn't have to be on the field all of the time because Budda/Simmons/Murphy should have flexibility into his position on a lot of downs. The Thompson Twins both deserve a chance.

12 – Would you really care if Andy Isabella did not take the expected step forward? I wouldn’t. I might shrug my shoulders, but I would not spent more energy on it than that.
I'll care a lot. I don't even think there's an "expected" step forward, just the hope he contributes anything at all. I'm never going to be able to get over the amount of resources that were wasted with him as the result. If he were John Brown for two years, maybe. But I'll always view him as our 10th overall pick in 2018. It's a huge indictment on Keim/Kliff.

13 – I think that safety is their most vulnerable position, so who’s out there in free agency? Well, I am glad you asked.
All of your suggestions are great ideas, I just don't view safety to be as vulnerable as #14...

14 – The tight ends.

Last year Maxx Williams had a net yards over average of 214.35. That is extraordinary. The rushing attack were almost a yard better per run with Williams on the field. That is more significant that every single one of the regular starts on the offensive line. Yeah, I am excited about Williams.

Is Dan Arnold for real? I know that they were really excited about him late last season, so will they try to involve him more in the offense? And is he even big enough for a bigger role with only 220 lbs. distributed throughout his 6-6 height?

And I look forward to hear about newcomer Dylan Cantrell, who Kingsbury knows very well – and deployed a lot – from the Texas Tech-days. For all I know he could do absolutely nothing effective, but he is still a very fascinating story, to me.
We feel really, really weak here. I can't believe we didn't invest in a trade for some of the more athletic pass catchers that seemed to be available. It's not the end of the world for me from a scheme fit, but dang.

Overall, I like the roster quite a bit and I'm looking forward to camp. This was fundamentally a perfect offseason in my eyes. If someone had laid this out in January, I'd have applauded.

Thanks for your contributions Gandhi! Love the lists.
 

Cbus cardsfan

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Sorry, not the gist of your post.

But, Dana Holgerson is a drunk and his drinking/ problems with drinking have been swept under the rug for years at West Virginia.
They were glad he moved on because it’s just a matter of time until he’s in trouble.
 

DVontel

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I think he should move around eventually, but for right now, let's put him in one spot. Any other season, I'd say we should fully implement his versatility as soon as possible.


I think he's pretty pedestrian, but not far off from Kenyan Drake. I hope to improve in the future, but I think both will have some decent games. To me, our rushing attack will be alright, but not special. That's fine though, can't win them all.


Lots of potential here, and a decent rotation. I envision major improvement over last year, and if Phillips can play like he did in Buffalo, that'd make this an intriguing unit. I'm excited to watch them get out there!


The OL will be important. I want Murray off the field unless it's an emergency. Sweezy did yeoman's work last year. Cole is my biggest question mark. I wanted him to win the starting job last year, and losing it without question to an aging Shipley coming off of a major knee injury doesn't inspire any confidence this year. I'm rooting for Cole, but see center as one of the most concerning positions on the roster.


(Deleted the rest for the sake of length) It's not Reddick's fault he was overdrafted, but I think he's dead in the water.


I like him a lot as a guy who doesn't have to be on the field all of the time because Budda/Simmons/Murphy should have flexibility into his position on a lot of downs. The Thompson Twins both deserve a chance.


I'll care a lot. I don't even think there's an "expected" step forward, just the hope he contributes anything at all. I'm never going to be able to get over the amount of resources that were wasted with him as the result. If he were John Brown for two years, maybe. But I'll always view him as our 10th overall pick in 2018. It's a huge indictment on Keim/Kliff.


All of your suggestions are great ideas, I just don't view safety to be as vulnerable as #14...


We feel really, really weak here. I can't believe we didn't invest in a trade for some of the more athletic pass catchers that seemed to be available. It's not the end of the world for me from a scheme fit, but dang.

Overall, I like the roster quite a bit and I'm looking forward to camp. This was fundamentally a perfect offseason in my eyes. If someone had laid this out in January, I'd have applauded.

Thanks for your contributions Gandhi! Love the lists.
What athletic TEs should we have traded for Solar
 

DVontel

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Safety our most vulnerable position?

What?

Huge disagree.

Hell, that might be our most invulnerable group on defense if anything. Way more question marks at CB, DL, & LBs.

Not to mention, the safeties you named to try & nab either washed or old. Stay young & fresh.
 

Solar7

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What athletic TEs should we have traded for Solar
Hypothetically I thought we could have tossed out a late pick for either OJ Howard or David Njoku.

I wouldn't be against a veteran minimum deal to Jordan Reed for some competition.

Ideally we could have snagged an interesting guy in the draft, but I like our draft a lot, so I'm not exactly stamping my feet over anyone we "missed."

Hell, that might be our most invulnerable group on defense if anything. Way more question marks at CB, DL, & LBs.

Not to mention, the safeties you named to try & nab either washed or old. Stay young & fresh.
CB stands out to me as the biggest priority next year. Either Peterson or Alford will be gone, if not both. Murphy isn't really a CB1. Next to me is RB.
 

DVontel

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Hypothetically I thought we could have tossed out a late pick for either OJ Howard or David Njoku.

I wouldn't be against a veteran minimum deal to Jordan Reed for some competition.

Ideally we could have snagged an interesting guy in the draft, but I like our draft a lot, so I'm not exactly stamping my feet over anyone we "missed."


CB stands out to me as the biggest priority next year. Either Peterson or Alford will be gone, if not both. Murphy isn't really a CB1. Next to me is RB.
When it comes to Njoku & OJ. It takes two to tango. Not everyone is BoB.

As far as Jordan Reed, hell nah. Mainly for personal reasons regarding his health.
 

Solar7

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When it comes to Njoku & OJ. It takes two to tango. Not everyone is BoB.

As far as Jordan Reed, hell nah. Mainly for personal reasons regarding his health.
Yeah, I know it takes some work. I'm not blaming anyone for not getting them, but I do wonder about the compensation on those guys.

I just think it's currently the weakest position group. I have hope for Dan Arnold, but it's the same kind of hope I had for Ricky Seals-Jones that never seemed to develop.
 

Timm Rosenbach

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I can’t wait to see who worked out and stayed in shape and focused during the offseason. Players across the league are going to come back in terrible shape and will never play at the level that they would have without this bizarre offseason. There has never been a better time to have “character” guys on the roster. Not just rookies but veterans as well.
 

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Great write up Gandhi

I’m really hopeful that Dan Arnold was not a flash in the pan. He was running down the seam and making great grabs toward the end of the year. Grabs that Freddie Jones / housler / Seal Jones never made. I’m cautiously optimistic.....

we have to go back to November of 1989 to have a Tight end have 100 yards in a game.....rob awalt

Quite shocking I know......

anand
 
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Gandhi

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The OL will be important. I want Murray off the field unless it's an emergency. Sweezy did yeoman's work last year. Cole is my biggest question mark. I wanted him to win the starting job last year, and losing it without question to an aging Shipley coming off of a major knee injury doesn't inspire any confidence this year. I'm rooting for Cole, but see center as one of the most concerning positions on the roster.

I fully agree with this. I have even thought to myself if second year player Lamont Gaillard might beat out Cole in training camp? I thought Gaillard did fine in limited work last season, and I have the same question marks about Cole as you.

We feel really, really weak here. I can't believe we didn't invest in a trade for some of the more athletic pass catchers that seemed to be available. It's not the end of the world for me from a scheme fit, but dang.

Again I agree, but I tend to think that they actually believe some in Cantrell? I would personally not rule out a trade if Cantrell struggles or someone (probably O.J. Howard or David Njoku) becomes available at a low price.

Thanks for your contributions Gandhi! Love the lists.

Thank you, Solar! Much appreciated!
 

Chopper0080

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#1 Our biggest offseason acquisition and catalyst for improvement will have very little opportunity to develop chemistry with a 2nd year QB and work through the kinks of a new playbook.

#2 New starting C. Not new to the position or team, but #1 new as a starter and with Kyler every snap.

#3 Jordan Phillips, Devondre Campbell, Devon Kennard, Zach Allen, Jalen Thompson, Isaiah Simmons, and Byron Murphy. All new or in their 2nd year and expected to fill significant roles on the defense.

Three significant reasons to adjust our expectations for this season.

HOWEVER, 1 large reason to be optimistic...our early schedule is trash.

Our first 7 games prior to a week 8 bye are...

@ SF - L
Wash - W
Det - W
@Caro - W
@NYJ - W
@Dallas - ? (primetime games are always tough to predict with AZ)
Sea - L

and if we don't head into Monday Night Football @ Dallas at least 4-1, we have problems. The Dallas game will be interesting because I imagine Kyler Murray will be dialed in wanting to show out in his home state and on a huge stage. The Jets game in NY the week prior could be closer than we want to admit as it will be easy for a young team to look ahead.
 
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Gandhi

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HOWEVER, 1 large reason to be optimistic...our early schedule is trash.

Our first 7 games prior to a week 8 bye are...

@ SF - L
Wash - W
Det - W
@Caro - W
@NYJ - W
@Dallas - ? (primetime games are always tough to predict with AZ)
Sea - L

and if we don't head into Monday Night Football @ Dallas at least 4-1, we have problems. The Dallas game will be interesting because I imagine Kyler Murray will be dialed in wanting to show out in his home state and on a huge stage. The Jets game in NY the week prior could be closer than we want to admit as it will be easy for a young team to look ahead.

I get what you are saying, Chopper, but I personally put very little stock into the upcoming strength of schedule. Happens every year that teams goes from horrible to good.
 

Chopper0080

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I get what you are saying, Chopper, but I personally put very little stock into the upcoming strength of schedule. Happens every year that teams goes from horrible to good.
I disagree. You can't base your opinion of the schedule based upon last year's records, but you can based upon their current situations.

SF - stability at HC, OC, DC, and QB. One of the best teams previous year. Should be healthy and a very tough game especially on the road.

Wash - Front office change. Bad culture. Poor roster. 2nd year QB with no offseason. New HC, New OC, New DC. Home game. Easy game.

Det - Lame duck coach. Veteran QB. Average at best roster. At home. We should be a home favorite.

Carolina - New HC. New OC. New DC. New QB. No offseason. Below average roster. On the road. We are either a road favorite or very close. Our stability should give us the edge.

NY Jets - Here is a team that the previous year's record may not be a reflection of the team. That being said...Bad coach. Bad roster. On the road. Also young QB. Again, we are either a road favorite or very close.

...and so on and so forth. Very little of this speculation and evaluation has to do with the previous year's record. That is why I say our early schedule is trash. Most of these teams either have a worse roster or are even more behind in their scheme and system development than we are.
 

Solar7

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@Chopper0080 I get the optimism, but man, this was a 5-11 team with maybe two good wins, and we don't have an offseason either. We're a young team that placed last defensively, and are returning that same defensive coach with a young HC that made plenty of mistakes in pure game management.

We played some really bad teams last year and just barely got by. I think we're improved, but to be nearly at our previous win total by week 5? That's some pretty strong kool-aid to be drinking.
 

Proximo

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#1 Our biggest offseason acquisition and catalyst for improvement will have very little opportunity to develop chemistry with a 2nd year QB and work through the kinks of a new playbook.

#2 New starting C. Not new to the position or team, but #1 new as a starter and with Kyler every snap.

#3 Jordan Phillips, Devondre Campbell, Devon Kennard, Zach Allen, Jalen Thompson, Isaiah Simmons, and Byron Murphy. All new or in their 2nd year and expected to fill significant roles on the defense.

Three significant reasons to adjust our expectations for this season.

HOWEVER, 1 large reason to be optimistic...our early schedule is trash.

Our first 7 games prior to a week 8 bye are...

@ SF - L
Wash - W
Det - W
@Caro - W
@NYJ - W
@Dallas - ? (primetime games are always tough to predict with AZ)
Sea - L

and if we don't head into Monday Night Football @ Dallas at least 4-1, we have problems. The Dallas game will be interesting because I imagine Kyler Murray will be dialed in wanting to show out in his home state and on a huge stage. The Jets game in NY the week prior could be closer than we want to admit as it will be easy for a young team to look ahead.

You know I think no preseason should actually improve our chances against SF.

That first game is likely to be very very sloppy.

You are right of course about the center spot, but the way I look at it is they are replacing a guy who was average at best, and cole has already shown himself to not be terrible at guard. My expectations aren't high, but at least we are playing a young guy that has potential to improve.

I'm not that worried about the defensive players you listed, all with the exception of Simmons got significant playing time last season or are experienced veterans. Simmons seems to have a sky high football IQ, so I'm not really worried about him either. Well actually I am worried about Zach Allen, I am really hoping Griffen takes his spot soon.

I am far more worried about our Corners and D-line than I am our LB's and Safeties. I actually think this is the best linebacker group the AZ cards have ever had.
 

Proximo

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@Chopper0080 I get the optimism, but man, this was a 5-11 team with maybe two good wins, and we don't have an offseason either. We're a young team that placed last defensively, and are returning that same defensive coach with a young HC that made plenty of mistakes in pure game management.

We played some really bad teams last year and just barely got by. I think we're improved, but to be nearly at our previous win total by week 5? That's some pretty strong kool-aid to be drinking.

Well yes, but if you rewatch most of the games in the second half of the season the cards were the better team or at least on par, but managed to lose more than they won.

For instance there is no way the cards should have lost the TB game. They easily could have won both SF games as well. The Pitt and Rams games were very winnable as well.

I really feel like Hopkins alone wins us two or three of those games.

Two things killed our offense last year, red zone and 2 minute drill. I am confident Kliff will at least get the redzone solved.

On D our personnel should be better. I see no reason the D will not be improved.
 

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Well yes, but if you rewatch most of the games in the second half of the season the cards were the better team or at least on par, but managed to lose more than they won.

For instance there is no way the cards should have lost the TB game. They easily could have won both SF games as well. The Pitt and Rams games were very winnable as well.

I really feel like Hopkins alone wins us two or three of those games.

Two things killed our offense last year, red zone and 2 minute drill. I am confident Kliff will at least get the redzone solved.

On D our personnel should be better. I see no reason the D will not be improved.
Yeah, I guess. I've pretty actively said I don't trust Kliff to improve, and he should be an OC somewhere.

We'll see! I hope I'm wrong.
 

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