5 Things I'm Optimistic About for 2023

kerouac9

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Some people here know that I'm a club soccer coach. It's super fun working with the kids, consistently gets me over 30k steps a day, and feeds a lot of my competitive energies. But, I'm the coach for a club's second (B) team, which means my roster is consistently raided of the best players each year. So every season I'm at the mercy of families who discovered the club online and were happy to make a second team.

This year the boys stepped up from 9v9 to 11v11, which means rosters roughly doubled. I lost four kids to the first team, two left soccer altogether, one changed clubs, and one moved -- 85 goals from last year. This team has been mostly pummeled in preseason scrimmages, and we're probably going to go 1-5 in league play and get relegated. I'm dealing with it. Kind of.

I'm trying to focus on helping each kid get better and understand that as everyone improves, the whole team will get better and more competitive. That's not going to take much sting out of another 1-9 loss.

Long way of saying that the best way probably to watch Arizona Cardinals football this year is to pick some favorite players and focus on how they get better in each four-game section of the season. I'm (hopefully) not going to watch a lot of Arizona Cardinals football this season, but when I do watch, here's what I'm looking forward to:

1) Michael Wilson, WR. I hate to say it, but I've 100% bought into the hype as long as it lasts. I don't know how many big play opportunities Wilson's going to get, but I think he'll get a lot of targets and opportunities.

2) Cam Thomas, EDGE. Thomas looks the part. I think he'll require direction to bulk up to be an IDL if that's his future, but he looked like a very fluid athlete in his snaps against Minnesota. I'm a Myjai Sanders fan, but I wonder about his fit now.

3) Paris Johnson Junior, OT. I feel like it will not be fun to follow the ball at the snap when the Cards offense is on the field, so I'm going to be watching the right side of the line and see if PJJ delivers some pancake breakfasts.

4) Jalen Thompson, S. #34 is likely to be The Dude on the defense next offseason, as I expect Budda Baker to be converted into cap space and maybe a third-day draft pick. It'll be interesting to see if he's mostly playing center field to protect an inexperienced group of cornerbacks or positioned to make plays.

5) Trey McBride, TE. It should be easy to watch McBride and PJJ at the same time, since they're likely to be paired together often when the Cards offense is driving. Would like to see him play more in control and in command.
 

slanidrac16

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I’m looking forward to solid play calling and game plan. I know we are going to be outmanned but watching Wr screens, clock penalties, offensive drives that took 60 seconds off the clock and a coach looking like a deer staring at headlights is over.
I think at times we will look okay and wonder “ why can’t we do that all the time?”
I’m also looking for how Gannon composes himself when things go sideways.
 

Arz101

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My addition:

I have an odd feeling the sum of Edge Rushers will be handful for most teams. That may be Cardinals defense strength this season.
 

Proximo

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My addition:

I have an odd feeling the sum of Edge Rushers will be handful for most teams. That may be Cardinals defense strength this season.
Oddly I get that feeling too. It feels like we have a bunch of 5-7 sack guys, but we can keep them fresh and therefore as a group they may produce fairly well.
 

MadCardDisease

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Excellent post. I like your choices and will add Frodo to the list.

yes I agree that this is a good post and got me thinking.

I would have to agree with K9 that there probably won't be many wins so I will most likely watch more individuals and groups to see how they are progressing.

My 5 would be:

#1) I have to agree with slanidrac16 with regards to the new coaching staff. Excited to see an actual Pro offense being run again. Hopefully a competent coaching staff that is able to get plays called in on time.

#2) What does Kyler Murray look like when he comes back and is put in a Pro Style offense? This is the biggest most important question of the season IMO.

#3) How does the starting OL look as a Unit? I'm excited to see if they can build on a strong showing from preseason.

#4) Rondale Moore. I'm still a Rondale truther and hope he can stay healthy this season. I'm excited to see what he can do in a pro style offense that throws the ball to him down the field.

#5) Budda Baker. I mean he is the heart and soul of this defense. He will give 110% whenever he is on the field. Hopefully that will rub off on some of the young guys.
 

football karma

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good FOs find young players from late in the draft, UDFAs, over-looked players cut from other teams -- and find a few contributing players

feels like the Cards have had 0 of those the last few years (Dortch maybe?). I am optimistic that changes and looking forward to see who emerges
 

ASUCHRIS

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Which of the pass rushers breaks out? Sanders/Thomas/Collins/Ojulari should hopefully get plenty of reps and hopefully at least one stands out as a 8-10 sack player.

Speaking of Collins, haven't heard much about him since the initial transition. Did he show well during the preseason?
 
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kerouac9

kerouac9

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Which of the pass rushers breaks out? Sanders/Thomas/Collins/Ojulari should hopefully get plenty of reps and hopefully at least one stands out as a 8-10 sack player.

Speaking of Collins, haven't heard much about him since the initial transition. Did he show well during the preseason?
This is a thread for optimism, so I won't put my full thoughts here. I'd say that he showed enough in preseason that he'll likely be targeted by Washington when he's on the field.
 

gmabel830

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You picked a good five.

My daughter is starting her first year of club (9v9) and the team has been in shambles, so we are expecting similar results for her.

My son is still in youth academy 7v7 and usually on the other side of that score line. Tournament this weekend were probably the top 4 teams in the city in his age group are all in the same group together. We are excited to see how it goes!
 

Krangodnzr

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I agree with your five.

My additional guys that I'm watching and "hoping" that they become serviceable to good players:

1) Marco Wilson. He had a pretty good last year based on coverage stats. He was a poor tackler, but you can live with that a bit at CB. I think is ceiling is really good #2 CB and I hope to see him get there. Would be a good step forward for this team if Wilson could work out as a player.

2) Froholdt. Yeah I know it's hopium, but the Cardinals are due to finally find a guy off the scrap heap who works out. Preseason has been a big positive and he looks the part.

3) Clark. I'm a fan of Garrett Williams, but he is starting the year on the NFI so I'll go with Clark. Every time I've seen him talk, he is an easy player to pull for. Really gives off Money Mike vibes as far as personality goes. Getting a good nickel late in the draft really helps the rebuild.

Overall I think the Cardinals have some players that they can build around, but they are lacking the top end talent to really propel this team forward. Best case scenario is that they become a scrappy team no one wants to play, Murray comes back and plays pretty well by the end of the year, and next years draft they add some top end talent to this roster.
 

Ouchie-Z-Clown

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As a flag football coach I’ve had the same experience. Turnover the last few seasons. Last season I essentially had a team of offensive linemen (four are actual offensive linemen this year playing pop Warner). Let that sink in. On a team where there is no blocking and 6 of the 8 kids on the roster are olinemen and one is a QB. We typically stink outta the gate. But I arching the kids learn and come together is particularly rewarding. Last season I took that team of olinemen to a championship (partially riding the wishbone in a league where you can only run once every set of downs - it was a thing of beauty). This season I began with 2 of the olinemen from last season and a total mismash of kids who have never played before or don’t each other. Against 7th/8th graders whose teams have been together for years. I told them we will get our brains bashed in to begin the season. Don’t worry about that. Listen and work on your game and we will have success when it’s most important. Thankfully the two kids from last season could validate those statements.

So along those lines I’m looking forward to:

1. Coaching. I want to see discipline. I want to see a pro offense. I don’t want to start every game with a wr screen.

2. Frodo - if ends up our answer at center I’ll be absolutely ecstatic.

3. Wilson - yup I’m drinking koolaid

4. Murray under center - whomever listed that one, it was a good one. I am REALLY curious to see how a rehabbed kyler operates in an nfl offense. This may be the greatest piece to cardinal future that we gain insight into this season.

5. The #2 corner slot. I want to see if either rookie has the goods.

6. Paris - I lost him a distant 6 because I think it’s already know what we’re getting outta him. I think he’s a future dj Humphries not a guy who is going to dominate and wow us, but a guy who will make us forget about his position (and that’s a great thing).
 

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Cam Thomas, Tune, Dortch.. it'll be cool to see if a couple D guys are actually good or just preseason good. Ingram too, dude looks hungry. And of course the new and improved Kyler Murray - he won't be coming back to the best of situations but I hope he makes the best of it
 

SeattleCard

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Good post. My short list at the moment:

1. Coaching. Decent start to the preseason, but how will this staff handle regular season games?

2. Tune. I think we're going to see him at some point. Can he develop? If so, what does that even mean for the future?

3. James Conner: I have him on my fantasy team, so please be good :)
 
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