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12.06.2019 05:45
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"No risk it Kyler Murray Arizona Cardinals Jersey , no biscuit" is ancient history for these Arizona Cardinals.The big-play, fling it down the field offense of Bruce Arians has been replaced by a run-oriented game that features toughness up front, and a stout defense emphasizing physical play, especially in the secondary.At least that's the way first-year coach Steve Wilks envisions it.Whether that results in success in the standings is an open question, especially with a passing game that's still a work in progress, and a brutal road schedule.Las Vegas odds make Arizona a 120-1 long shot to win the Super Bowl and has his team's over-under victory total at just six games."That's great," Wilks said to a room full of reporters. "From Day 1, April 3, I talked to the guys about our vision and expectations. Outside of that team meeting room a lot of people aren't giving us a chance. I'm probably looking at quite a few of them. That's fine as well. But we're going to continue to emphasize the fundamentals and technique and going about our business each and every day and put ourselves in position to hopefully, No. 1, win our division, and then from there we'll talk about everything else."Wilks believes he has some star power to build around: David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Sam Bradford, Patrick Peterson and 2017 NFL sacks leader Chandler Jones.And expect to see a lot of Johnson Color Rush Kyler Murray Jersey , who is out to remind people he's one of the NFL's best running backs (and earn a nice contract in the process)."I definitely feel like people seem to have forgotten about me," Johnson said. "You hear people talking about Todd Gurley, Zeke Elliott and Le'v Bell -- and they're great backs. But then you notice that you're not hearing your name or people are not talking about you."Johnson led the NFL in yards from scrimmage and touchdowns two seasons ago, but fractured his left wrist in the opener last year and didn't play again.Wilks, defensive coordinator at Carolina last year, has emphasized toughness and physical play from the get-go. Some practices start with a one-on-one drill between a top defensive and offensive player. The first had defensive end Jones against left tackle D.J. Humphries.He also took the team outside of air-conditioned University of Phoenix Stadium for a handful of practices during training camp in the sizzling desert sun. The idea is to develop a mental edge, he said.Here are some things to consider about Wilks' Cardinals:O-LINE MAKEOVER: The Cardinals rebuilt the offensive line and Wilks calls it the strength of the team.Humphries and guard Mike Iupati, who has had a strong preseason, are on the left side, with free agent acquisitions Justin Pugh at right guard and Andre Smith at right tackle. Center A.Q. Shipley went down with a season-ending knee injury, so rookie Mason Cole, a third-round pick out of Michigan, is his replacement.BRADFORD'S KNEE: Bradford's history of injuries led the Cardinals to bring the quarterback along slowly. He didn't begin taking regular first-team reps until minicamp and got regular days off during training camp.Bradford said the results have been great. He completed his first seven passes in the preseason before having a couple dropped in the third game against Dallas, but Arizona really hasn't amped up the passing game yet."I feel good right now," he said. "My body's in a good place and I think now we'll see the benefits of the plan we had throughout OTAs and throughout the spring."ROOKIES GALORE: Rookies figure to fill prominent roles.Dynamic second-round pick Christian Kirk will return punts and might win the No. 2 receiver job. Cole is the center. And fourth-round pick Chase Edmonds has shown to be a powerful backup to Johnson.And that's not counting quarterback Josh Rosen. Arizona moved up in the draft to pick Rosen 10th overall and he's impressed his teammates and coaches by absorbing the offense so quickly Kyler Murray Arizona Cardinals Jersey , and incessantly asking questions.Rosen gets his chance if Bradford goes down.DEPTH ISSUES: Depth seems to be the biggest question mark for the Cardinals, particularly at linebacker and wide receiver.Arizona has one of the best receivers to play the game in Larry Fitzgerald, who returns for his 15th season. But the pecking order after that is in flux.The Cardinals have a talented trio of linebackers in Deone Bucannon, Haason Reddick and Josh Bynes, but the numbers are thin behind them. There's also a big drop-off after the first-team offensive line.TURNOVER AVALANCHE: Arizona opponents had 16 turnovers in its first three preseason games, a whopping eight by the Cowboys.The Cardinals were plus-15 in takeaways through three preseason games. Can that continue at even a close pace in the games that count? Let me assure you: I take no satisfaction in this. But鈥?I told you so.The Arizona Cardinals, despite having the best offensive player on the field on Sunday, despite having an overwhelming advantage on defense, and despite being 5.5-point favorites, fell, somewhat predictably, to the Oakland Raiders 23-21.This isn’t quite rock bottom—I still think the 45-10 embarrassment on national TV against the Broncos was worse—but this loss absolutely typifies the 2018 Cardinals season. Impotent offense? Check. Stupid penalties? Check. Late-game defensive collapse? Check. All that was missing on the bingo card was was a shanked Phil Dawson FG.It was an ugly game, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t lessons to be learned. Here were my three biggest takeaways from this depressing loss.This Is a Poorly Coached TeamThis is straight from the “No s***, Sherlock!” files, but it can’t be overemphasized just how bad a job Steve Wilks has done in his first year on the job. On Sunday Womens Kyler Murray Jersey , the Cardinals committed 7 penalties for 62 yards, had 2 turnovers, and possessed the ball for just 24 minutes. For the Raiders, those numbers were 4 penalties for 20 yards, 0 turnovers, and 36 minutes of possession. Yes, the players on the field are share some of the blame, but the head coach can directly be blamed for the lack of discipline and efficiency shown—especially in the 4th quarter. After the Cardinals took the lead 21-20 with just over 5:00 remaining, the Cardinals ran 7 plays for -14 yards鈥?and that’s with two Raiders punts in there. The first play on each 3-and-out was a Mike McCoy classic David Johnson plunge up the middle. Even worse was the touchdown-nullifying holding penalty on Ricky Seals-Jones. A head coach needs to put his players in better positions than that. This was an eminently winnable game that the Redbirds gave away due to terrible coaching.It’s Impossible to Evaluate Josh Rosen at This PointYes, Josh Rosen threw a career-high 3 TDs on Sunday, but he also only completed 9/20 passes and tossed 2 picks as well. And keep in mind this was against one of the worst passing defenses in the league. Seven starts into his career, we really have no idea what we have in Rosen. He’s completed only 55% of his passes, with a 6.2 YPA and 9:10 TD:INT ratio. Those are really bad numbers. But is his poor performance really that surprising鈥?or even his own fault? He was hamstrung for 4 starts by McCoy, and he’s played behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league with very little talent at the WR/TE positions. Christian Kirk has had a pretty good rookie season, yes Cheap Byron Murphy Jersey , but Larry Fitzgerald has been a shadow of his former greatness, and every other WR/TE who has caught a pass from Rosen probably wouldn’t see the field for most other teams. Rosen deserves better than the poor coaching and sub-par talent he’s experienced thus far. Will he get a clean slate in the offseason?The Defense Deserves Better Than ThisLet’s be clear—the defense isn’t without blame for Sunday’s loss. They failed to create a turnover for a second straight game, gave up over 150 yards on the ground, and were burned down the stretch by something called a “Marcell Ateman” and other castoffs. But they also sacked Derek Carr 4 times, stonewalled the Raiders on 1st and goal at the 2 in the third quarter, and held them to just 325 yards of total offense. They obviously didn’t have a perfect game, but they played well enough to win the game—as they have for most of the season. Earlier in the season, there were a few rumors of a potential locker room rift; I wouldn’t be surprised if those rumors made a return in the coming weeks. This has been a top-10 defense that has kept an absolutely abysmal offense in most games. That kind of disparity tends to breed discord. How Wilks handles the inevitable animosity may very well determine his fate as the Cardinals’ head man.Final ThoughtsThe Cardinals are now 2-8 with perhaps the only winnable game left on their schedule behind them. Here are their final 6 games: at the Chargers, at the Packers, home to the Lions, at the Falcons, home to the Rams, at the Seahawks. That sure looks like 3-13 at best to me. This could be a brutal final month and a half. Let’s just hope Rosen survives it.What did you think of the Raiders loss, Redbirds fans? How much blame do you put on Wilks? What did you think of Rosen’s performance? The defense? Let’s wrap our heads around this dispiriting loss in the comments.

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