Key Additions: Kyler Murray, Kliff Kingsbury, Tramaine Brock, J.R. Sweezy, Jordan Hicks, Terrell Suggs, Robert Alford, Brooks Reed, Charles Clay, Byron Murphy, Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, Marcus Gilbert, Vance Joseph, Darius Philon, Michael Crabtree
Key Return: Rodney Gutner
Key Departures: Josh Rosen, Steve Wilks, Markus Golden, Mike Iupati, J.J. Nelson, Deone Bucannon, Tre Boston, Antoine Bethea
|Week 1||Sept. 8th 4:25 PM ET||vs. Detroit Lions (FOX)|
|Week 2||Sept. 15h 1:00 PM ET||@ Baltimore Ravens (FOX)|
|Week 3||Sept. 22nd 4:05 PM ET||@ Carolina Panthers (FOX)|
|Week 4||Sept. 29th 4:05 PM ET||vs. Seattle Seahawks (FOX)|
|Week 5||Oct. 6th 1:00 PM ET||@ Cincinnati Bengals (FOX)|
|Week 6||Oct. 13th 4:05 PM ET||vs. Atlanta Falcons (FOX)|
|Week 7||Oct. 20th 1:00 PM ET||@ New York Giants (FOX)|
|Week 8||Oct. 27th 1:00 PM ET||@ New Orleans Saints (CBS)|
|Week 9||Oct. 31st 8:20 PM ET||vs. San Francisco 49ers (FOX)|
|Week 10||Nov. 10th 1:00 PM ET||@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (FOX)|
|Week 11||Nov. 17th 4:05 PM ET||@ San Francisco 49ers (FOX)|
|Week 12||Bye Week|
|Week 13||Dec. 1st 4:05 PM ET||vs. Los Angeles Rams (FOX)|
|Week 14||Dec. 8th 4:25 PM ET||vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (CBS)|
|Week 15||Dec. 15th 4:05 PM ET||vs. Cleveland Browns (CBS)|
|Week 16||Dec. 22nd 4:25 PM ET||@ Seattle Seahawks (FOX)|
|Week 17||Dec. 29th 4:25 PM ET||@ Los Angeles Rams (FOX)|
The Cardinals hope to erase the lingering tastes of a horrendous 2018 campaign in which they landed the first pick in the 2019 draft. After the disastrous 3-13 season, they bring in Heisman winner and overall number 1 pick Kyler Murray and a flurry of signings that will hopefully mesh into a cohesive unit. 2018 1st round pick Josh Rosen’s stint with Arizona is over and he is now in Miami after the tumultuous past season. However, the Cardinals have now spent their first picks in the past two drafts on QBs, so let’s hope they can smoothen that position out. In addition, the NFC West squad made major coaching overhauls after the firing of rookie head coach Steve Wilks. Incoming is new head coach Kliff Kingsbury from Texas Tech, OC Tom Clements, and DC Vance Joseph, who coached the Broncos last year.
2019 will likely be an experimental year for these birds, as competing in a loaded NFC with a rookie QB and a freshman head coach is a daunting task. Though a rookie, Kyler Murray does come with his fair share of expectations as a first pick, and much of the spotlight on this team will be on him. The NFC West remains a gritty division in 2019. The 2018 NFC Super Bowl representative L.A. Rams want to prove they can still reach the grand stage again, and will be playing with a burning spirit this year. The Seattle Seahawks have remained a formidable opponent for much of this decade and with the Pete Carroll/Russell Wilson train leading them, they will bring a ton of steam. The San Francisco 49ers also hope to make up for lost time with Jimmy G. returning this year. This spells bad news for the Cardinals, but a positive sign of growth is playing competitive games with division rivals.
The keys to the offense will be handed to Kyler Murray. Despite the concern about his size from pundits, Murray has the capability to thrive under Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense, which happens to be something quite familiar to both parties from their days at Oklahoma and Texas Tech, respectively. Supporting Murray will be prolific RB David Johnson, who can be a significant asset on this offense if he can play like his 2016 season. Dependable, fan-favorite WR Larry Fitzgerald returns to this passing corps, though good old Larry cannot continue to be the only strength on the pass-catchers group this year. Luckily, the Cardinals hope to have a promising receiving corp after Fitzgerald. Sophomore WR Christian Kirk returns, and the birds drafted WR Andy Isabella out of Massachussetts, and WR Hakeem Butler from Iowa State, though the latter finds himself on the IR. Veteran WR Michael Crabtree and TE Charles Clay were added this offseason, rounding out a nice arsenal for Murray come gamedays.
The defense also returns much improved this season. The birds drafted DE Zach Allen from Boston College and signed notable linebackers such as Terrell Suggs, who is still capable of being effective even at age 36. Other linebacker signings such as Jordan Hicks and Brooks Reed, along with the returns of Haason Reddick and Chandler Jones, bolsters this defense up front.
As for the secondary, drafting CB Byron Murphy out of Washington and signing CBs Robert Alford and Tramaine Brock benefits an improving unit that already features standout CB Patrick Peterson (suspended first 6 games), and safeties Budda Baker/DJ Swearinger.
The offseason additions of young draft picks and seasoned, proven veteran players brings a layer of leadership and hope to this team. The Cardinals have made major improvements this offseason across their depth chart. However, the chemistry make take time to form, as Murray is still a rookie, and there are new coaching systems on offense and defense, so expectations will likely be kept modest.
Kyler Murray and the Cardinals will have an opportunity to make some noise this season against their tough lineup of opponents. Aside from their standard, tough division foes, the Cardinals have road games at the Ravens and Saints and notable home matchups against the Falcons, Panthers, Browns, and Steelers. Their schedule is certainly no cakewalk, but it’s a chance for this young team to learn from experience and build confidence for the future.
For the foreseeable future, this team will be more focused on gelling together its new pieces and building a QB and coach tandem that can compete for championships in the heart of the 2020s.