The holidays are upon us and it has many fans reflecting on all of the things they are thankful for. Their hometown team may not make the list of things fans are thankful for, which begs the question, what are the 2018 Arizona Cardinals thankful for (potentially)?
No more Mike McCoy
Now you won’t hear me saying “ding dong, the witch is dead” regarding the Mike McCoy situation (except that I just did), but many fans including myself were calling for McCoy to leave sooner than he did. The play calling was stale, predictable, and ultimately too complicated for our personnel to run effectively. Fans hadn’t seen an offense that poor since the likes of John Skelton and Beanie Wells roamed the field. The Arizona Cardinals are certainly relieved to have a better man for the job, one that will cater to the strength of the players you have. Which leads us to the next thing that the 2018 Arizona Cardinals are thankful for, Byron Leftwich.
I firmly believe that without Byron Leftwich, David Johnson would still be without a 100-yard rushing performance this year. That alone speaks volumes into his worth to this team and their overall outlook going into next season.
RB David Johnson in three games under Byron Leftwich: 145.7 total yards per game.
DJ in seven games under Mike McCoy: 71.6 total yards per game.
— Kyle Odegard (@Kyle_Odegard) November 19, 2018
Michael Bidwill and Steve Keim and extremely fortunate that Leftwich hung around after his pal Bruce Arians retired. Byron brings his own personal experience and flavor to a “Bruce Arians-esque” offense that has really opened up the ENTIRE offense. Even while working with an old, battered offensive line, Leftwich has shown that he is capable of steering the offense in the right direction.
A promising future
Fans all know, it could be worse. Heck, we’ve all seen worse. The record is solely an indication of a bad quarterback signing, an incompetent offensive coordinator, and a lackluster run defense. BUT, many fans agree that our youth has a world of potential. Josh Rosen, Christian Kirk, and David Johnson are going to be your offensive cornerstones for years to come. Pair that with a formidable lineman in Mason Cole and a shifty running back in Chase Edmonds, this most recent draft could be the foundation for a great offense. Obviously, fans all expected better results. But given the fire that these young players were thrown into, with a strength of schedule that is one of the toughest in the league, many fans can pacify the results. Not to mention, the results will land the Arizona Cardinals will end up with better players next year all thanks to their draft position.
“You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” The Patriot way backfired in this scenario. New England didn’t want to pay Chandler Jones when his contract was up, giving Steve Keim the opportunity to pull the trigger on a great trade for the Cardinals. Recording his 10th sack this Sunday against the Raiders, Jones has proven to be one of the upper-echelon of pass rushers in the league. At this pace, Jones should be able to get close to 15 sacks this year, just two short of his performance the year before. Ultimately, the team and fans should be thankful for Chandler Jones’ consistency and bringing quarterbacks to the ground.
The Living Legend
A list talking about the Arizona Cardinals would not be complete without talking about the man, the myth, the legend…Larry Fitzgerald. In a difficult season such as this one, it’s important for fans and the organization to appreciate the body of work that your storied players have given you. Don’t misunderstand, Larry Fitzgerald is on no “victory tour” or “retirement parade”, which makes his legacy all the more special. Larry is 6 receptions away from having the most receptions with one single team in league history. What a very special sight that will be for fans and the team to see Larry Fitzgerald not toss a ball to the official. That one will certainly go in the trophy case.
On Sunday, Larry Fitzgerald recorded his 19th career game with multiple rec TD, tied with Randy Moss for the 2nd most in the NFL since Fitzgerald debuted in 2004 (Antonio Gates is 1st with 21 such games).
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 19, 2018