The 2023-2024 Season will be a rebuilding year for the Arizona Cardinals. With multiple star players leaving in the offseason and Kyler Murray still recovering from ACL surgery from last year, this looks a completely different team than the beginning of the 2022 season. Already being criticized under newly hired head coach Johnathan Gannon, they have a lot of work to do to get back the version we saw in the first half of 2021 season where they went 7-0.
After significant collapse at the end of the 2021 season, losing five out of their last six games including a first-round exit against the Rams. The Cardinals enter the 2022 season with unfinished business. With high hopes, they were crushed by the eventual Super Bowl Champions Kansas City Chiefs in their season opener by a score of 44-21. This unfortunately set the tone for the season, as they finished 4-13 record and 1-8 at home.
Most of that was due to bad coaching. After extension, just that past offseason, Kliff Kingsbury was fired shortly after the season ended. A big reason was his inability to adapt. After a Week 6 loss to the Seahawks, Murray said teams were playing the Cardinals’ offense soft, making them “methodically move the ball.” Another reason was injuries and suspensions to key players. DeAndre Hopkins was suspended six games for performance-enhancing drugs, Zach Ertz missed the last seven games with a season-ending knee injury and Kyler Murray tore his ACL in December. There are also some off-field distractions. Hollywood Brown was arrested for driving 126 miles per hour on his way to practice and offensive line coach Sean Kugler was fired for allegedly groping a woman during a couple of days before their game against the 49ers in Mexico. Overall, one of the more dysfunctional seasons in franchise history.
Linebacker Kyzir White
After recently trading away Isaiah Simmons to the Giants, Kyzir White has solidified himself in a premier role in the linebacker room. White was a part of the Eagles Super Bowl run last season. He was second on the team with 110 tackles in addition to seven pass breakups and one-and-a-half sacks. He reunites with Gannon as he was Philly’s defensive coordinator last season. Whatever the scheme, White can help his new teammates get adjusted to the playbook since he’s familiar with it
Offensive Tackle Paris Johnson Jr
Most of their significant additions came through the draft. After trading out of the third pick with the Texans, they picked Johnson with the sixth pick. Johnson was ranked the best offensive lineman in the class. He will follow in his father’s footsteps, who was also drafted by Arizona in 1999. Johnson is a long athletic tackle who is a smooth mover in pass protection. he allowed just 14 total pressures from 449 pass-blocking snaps for Ohio State last season. He still needs to bulk up in terms of frame which is why he will sit behind newly re-signed right tackle Kelvin Beachum for at least a few games.
Edge Rusher BJ Ojulari
Going back to the draft, Ojulari was taken in the top of the second round. Gannon’s defense is designed for elite pass rushers, which he had much success with All-Pro Hassan Reddick and veteran Brandon Graham. The Arizona Cardinals lost 50% of their sack total (18/36) in the 2023-2024 offseason when JJ Watt retired and Zach Allen left for Denver. BJ much like his brother Areez, is a high-character player and a bendy edge rusher with a quick first step. With not much competition, he will be the number-one edge rusher for most of the season.
Projected Depth Chart
QB: Joshua Dobbs, Clayton Tune
RB: James Conner, Keaontay Ingram, Emari Demercado
WR: Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore, Zach Pascal, Greg Dortch, Michael Wilson
TE: Zach Ertz, Trey McBride, Geoff Swaim, Elijah Higgins
LT: D.J. Humphries, Ilm Manning
LG: Elijah Wilkinson, Carter O’Donnell
C: Hjalte Froholdt, Trystan Colon, Keith Ismael
RG: Will Hernandez
RT: Kelvin Beachum, Paris Johnson
DT: L.J. Collier, Leki Fotu, Jonathan Ledbetter, Carlos Watkins, Dante Stills, Kevin Strong
LOLB: Zaven Collins, Victor Dimukeje, Jesse Luketa
MLB: Krys Barnes, Ezekiel Turner
ROLB: Kyzir White, Josh Woods, Owen Pappoe
CB: Marco Wilson, Antonio Hamilton, Garrett, Williams, Christian Matthew, Starling Thomas, Kei’Trel Clark, Kris Boyd
S: Budda Baker, Jalen Thompson, K’Von Wallace
K: Matt Prater
P: Nolan Cooney
PR/KR: Greg Dortch
The Arizona Cardinals in the 2023-2024 season will be much of the same as last season. Without Murray, Hopkins, and Watt, it will be hard to generate any wins this season. With a first-time head coach, a backup quarterback starting for the first two months and a young and unproven defense, this team will be at the bottom of the standings once again. You can make the argument that they have the worst roster in the league.
They will most likely be in the mix for the number one pick. Caleb Williams is the consensus choice to be selected for the spot. This makes for an interesting headline since they already have a franchise quarterback. Will they move on from Murray? If they land the first pick, will they look to trade it for haul like the Bears did? How will Gannon fair in his first year? There are many questions surrounding the organization, but one thing is for sure. Arizona won’t be competing for a playoff spot any time soon.
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