2022 Season: Heroes and Goats

kerouac9

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The Arizona Cardinals 2022 season started so disastrously that its result doesn't come as a surprise. I expected the Cards to compete for the playoffs and potentially the division based on the continued improved play of their young quarterback and a defense maintaining its solid performance from the year before (finished 6th in defensive DVOA and 9th in weighted DVOA).

We all know what happened next. The Cards only posted four positive DVOA games in 2022, and only two of those were in winning games (Carolina and at LARM). I refuse to take injuries as an excuse when the season began with a traumatic 23-point home beatdown that wasn't even as close as the final score =. That opponent may have won the Super Bowl, but this was a bad team from the jump.

The good news is that new coach Jonathan Gannon is walking into a promising situation. The Cards underperformed their Pythagorean win expectation by 1.8 wins, and they were 1-4 in games decided by a touchdown or less. Twenty-nine players are unlikely to spend time on injured reserve in 2023. The stats suggest that this was closer to a six-win team than a four-win team in 2023, and they'll have the value from a top-five draft pick to leverage before the next season kicks off.

But that's looking ahead. As the 2023 NFL Draft Combine approaches, let's say recognize some of the most memorable performances from the Season that Was.

Heroes

J.J. Watt, DT — I was vocal at the beginning of the season that Watt was unlikely to play even eight games and would be irrelevant except for a certain kind of Cardinals fan. I'm happy to say that I was extremely wrong. Watt started 16 games and tallied 12.5 sacks. In the last few games of the season, Watt was arguably the only reason to watch the Arizona Cardinals. Watt provided an identity to team that was desperately in need of one from the start, and his cheesy dad vibes gave the fan base somethin to latch on to.

Kelvin Beachum, OT — In a year defined by inconsistency and injury, Beachum started 17 games and played in 98% of the offensive snaps. When the history of Keim Time is written, Beachum will go down as one of the team's best free agent signings. As we approach free agency next month, it's worth remembering that Beachum was signed initially on July 17, 2020. He's appeared in 48 of a possible 50 regular-season games since. He's not the dominant offensive lineman we need, but he's the kind of consistent performance you want as your fourth- or fifth-best guy.

Marco Wilson, CB — I don't trust CB coverage stats, but if you're someone who does, Wilson's 2022 season gives you lots to get excited about. Marco made a lot of splashy plays including a diving pick-six finish against New Orleans. He was also a pretty consistent stalwart and made the most of his first professional offseason. There are still some room to grow for Marco (including five penalities), but he's a reliable starter coming out of a pretty execrable 2022 defense overall.

Goats

Kliff Kingsbury, HC — I'm not here to speak ill of the dead or to kick a guy when he's down (if by down you mean frolicking on beaches with IG models). Kliff didn't do anything to earn the head coaching job with the Arizona Cardinals, but it's hard to blame him for accepting it (or the contract extension that followed three years later) when offered. His season highlight should probably be getting over on Sean McVay and the defending world champs in Week 10 with Colt McCoy as the starting QB. Almost everything else was so embarrassing you have to wonder how in charge of personnel and game day decisions he really was.

Isaiah Simmons, LB(?) — The problem with unique prospects is that you have to either warp your entire defensive structure around them or you have to ask them to do less to be productive within the context of the defense. Simmons made some special plays last season — his eight game-changing plays (interceptions, sacks, and forced fumbles) was second most behind J.J. Watt's 13.5. But the consistency from down-to-down wasn't there. It's telling that Vance Joseph has moved him further and further from the ball. I wanted Simmons to be evolutionary Karlos Dansby; he's turned out to be What If We Really Made Adrian Wilson a Linebacker.

Rondale Moore, WR — This freaking guy. The highlight of Rondale Moore's 2023 is probably when J.J. Watt had to tell him to buck up after being mad about a drop in practice. Moore has been exactly the same guy in the NFL that he's been in college:

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And people will say that he's this close to being, like, Brandin Cooks or something. One TD. Greg Dortch had more targets.
 

Cardiac

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Outstanding write up. The goat list could/should be longer but the format is the format. Buddha could also go on the heroes list but that's a given every year.
 

BritCard

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Can't disagree. I won't argue with the Rondale slander seeing as he did miss a chunk of games with injury but I'm confident he's going to be a great player if he can get his body right.
 

ASUCHRIS

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Glad you came around on Watt - he's been our best and most consistent player since he's been here. That's a huge hole to fill - who on the D will demand a double team now?
 

MaoTosiFanClub

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I have to wonder how private disappointed JJ was not to get moved at the deadline to a contender. Consummate pro didn’t even make a stink about it.

And speaking of which, how is Keim not the king of the goats? The guy was a buyer not a seller at the deadline for a 4-13 team.
 

Krangodnzr

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I have to wonder how private disappointed JJ was not to get moved at the deadline to a contender. Consummate pro didn’t even make a stink about it.

And speaking of which, how is Keim not the king of the goats? The guy was a buyer not a seller at the deadline for a 4-13 team.
Thinking Chosen Anderson was the guy to trade for WTF.
 

Arz101

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GOAT: Cardinals PR staff. They could not do a controlled burn of a dismal season.. Cardinals are just old Cardinals now. That is a terrible step back for "this is not your father's Cardinals" chest thumping from Hardy Dr.
 

Cardinal88

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In my mind, a hero is someone that goes above and beyond the challenges they are faced to succeed no matter what. I also don't like the use of "GOAT" which is Greatest of All Time. Let's not confuse a Cardinal Villain with a GOAT.

That being said, only a few hero's come to mind for me. JJ Watt (he achieve great success and best performance on the team), Budda Baker (guys still flys all over the place - he needs a cape) and Beacham (a bit of a stretch but at his age, he played fairly well and he played all 17 games).

For the Villains, start with ownership, Keim, Kingsbury, Joseph and all of the other coaches. It's hard to determine if a player was worth their weight in salt with this coaching staff which did nothing to help a player succeed. Ownership because they are the ones that put this staff together. As for player villains, this team has a void so probably 50% of the players never had a chance. would probably be "under performed" but would say they were a villain. Lee, Golden,Lawrence, Fotu, Hudson, Pugh, Green (although I'm glad he finished his career witht the 80 yard touchdown), Hopkins, Conner, and last by not least Murray. We expect more from the leadership on this team.

Hopeful guys like Simmons, Collins, Thomas, Sanders, Allen, and Jones can meet expectations with a new coaching staff.
 

Krangodnzr

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I think Kingsbury can work in a situation where he has a really strong leader at QB and has strong leaders on defense.

It looked like Kingsbury just couldn't figure out a winning formula, and that winning formula wasn't about play calling and scheming.
 
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kerouac9

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I have to wonder how private disappointed JJ was not to get moved at the deadline to a contender. Consummate pro didn’t even make a stink about it.

And speaking of which, how is Keim not the king of the goats? The guy was a buyer not a seller at the deadline for a 4-13 team.

I don't think JJ was that disappointed, honestly. He got to get a low-pressure send-off and spend time with his family. I wouldn't be surprised if the Cards approached him with the opportunity and he said no thanks. You only get so much time with your newborn child, and it seemed to me like JJ was in Dad Mode pretty early into the process.

I'm not going to back over Keim again. I accuse him of war crimes in seemingly every other thread. I had some final thoughts on Kliff I wanted to get out.

I think Kingsbury can work in a situation where he has a really strong leader at QB and has strong leaders on defense.

It looked like Kingsbury just couldn't figure out a winning formula, and that winning formula wasn't about play calling and scheming.

It would be really interesting to see what would/could happen if Kliff landed with a mid-level veteran starting QB. Jimmy Garrapolo or Derek Carr or Matt Stafford or whatever. I don't even think it has to be a strong leader; it just has to be a guy who gets the ropes of the NFL.

I mean, David Blough really sucks and Kliff had him looking like a guy who belongs in the NFL.

Kliff just had too much put on his plate too soon and never adjusted.
 

Arz101

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I don't think JJ was that disappointed, honestly. He got to get a low-pressure send-off and spend time with his family. I wouldn't be surprised if the Cards approached him with the opportunity and he said no thanks. You only get so much time with your newborn child, and it seemed to me like JJ was in Dad Mode pretty early into the process.

I'm not going to back over Keim again. I accuse him of war crimes in seemingly every other thread. I had some final thoughts on Kliff I wanted to get out.



It would be really interesting to see what would/could happen if Kliff landed with a mid-level veteran starting QB. Jimmy Garrapolo or Derek Carr or Matt Stafford or whatever. I don't even think it has to be a strong leader; it just has to be a guy who gets the ropes of the NFL.

I mean, David Blough really sucks and Kliff had him looking like a guy who belongs in the NFL.

Kliff just had too much put on his plate too soon and never adjusted.
Sorta Agree on Kliff. Kliff needs to find an average QB and average GM to know, what Kliff is all about before we write off Mr.Thailand
 
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kerouac9

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Bird City was coined by the Gen X at PHNX Cards team or whatever they are called. Atleast that is what I thought
No, I think it was coined by the young millenials/Gen Zers on the Cards media team. On Cards underground toward the beginning of the year the young woman host was talking about how they named their offseason bowling team Bird City Rollers or whatever.

It was basically a terrible idea put forward by people who are clearly Not From Here and were not fans of the team for any period of time.

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Krangodnzr

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It would be really interesting to see what would/could happen if Kliff landed with a mid-level veteran starting QB. Jimmy Garrapolo or Derek Carr or Matt Stafford or whatever. I don't even think it has to be a strong leader; it just has to be a guy who gets the ropes of the NFL.

I mean, David Blough really sucks and Kliff had him looking like a guy who belongs in the NFL.

Kliff just had too much put on his plate too soon and never adjusted.
Just hearing what players are saying, it sounded like a country club environment. That works with some players but not with others.
 

Chopper0080

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I don't think JJ was that disappointed, honestly. He got to get a low-pressure send-off and spend time with his family. I wouldn't be surprised if the Cards approached him with the opportunity and he said no thanks. You only get so much time with your newborn child, and it seemed to me like JJ was in Dad Mode pretty early into the process.

I'm not going to back over Keim again. I accuse him of war crimes in seemingly every other thread. I had some final thoughts on Kliff I wanted to get out.



It would be really interesting to see what would/could happen if Kliff landed with a mid-level veteran starting QB. Jimmy Garrapolo or Derek Carr or Matt Stafford or whatever. I don't even think it has to be a strong leader; it just has to be a guy who gets the ropes of the NFL.

I mean, David Blough really sucks and Kliff had him looking like a guy who belongs in the NFL.

Kliff just had too much put on his plate too soon and never adjusted.
Agreed. The best future for me is that Keim is not ever discussed here.
 

Dr. Jones

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Great write up K9. The goats were goat'd appropriately.

JJ shocked the hell out of me also. I'd love for him to be in our front office somewhere personally. He can recruit his butt off for us.
 
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