The Cardinals had a bye week in Week 8 of the NFL regular season so no game analysis this week from me, but there is still a lot to talk about.
The Cardinals organization had steered clear of COVID-19 issues⎯ until Week 8. Byron Murphy Jr. and Devon Kennard, crucial pieces to the Cardinals defense, came out and said they had positive COVID tests. This will be evident in the game as the Cardinals defense has been battling injuries all season.
I am looking forward to seeing what Vance Joseph decides to do and if he wants to get Isaiah Simmons in the game more, as he proved beneficial in the win against the Seattle Seahawks.
With the trade deadline closed, I really wished the Cardinals organization could have put together a deal to get Stephon Gilmore from the Patriots. Gilmore was crowned Defensive Player of the Year last season and although he is in his 30s, I still have faith he has some more years in the league and will stay competing at a high level.
The Cardinals have so much youth and the oldest player in the secondary is Patrick Peterson.
Peterson has had to step up tremendously this year playing disciplined and I believe the defense needs more seasoned players so he isn’t heavily relied on. The duo of Peterson and Gilmore would have left teams shaking in their boots.
The Cardinals struggled coming off the bye week last season and lost by a large margin to the Los Angeles Rams. With this engraved in everyone in the organization’s head, this bye week was not about relaxation.
The Cardinals play the Miami Dolphins in Week 9 of the regular season. The Dolphins have now placed rookie Tua Tagovailoa as their starting quarterback for the rest of the season.
Tagovailoa received his first win in his debut performance of playing the entirety of the game.
Tagovailoa led the Dolphins to a win against the Rams, at home, 28-17. A huge contributor to the win for the Dolphins was the defense and special teams. They had 14 points on the board in the first half, putting the Rams in a bind.
Defenses win games and if the Cardinals are able to hold the Dolphins offense to little to no points, the offense will have some breathing room and Kyler Murray can go to work.
With Arizona missing key elements on defense, the pressure falls on the offense to get it going. Murray needs to utilize all of his weapons and use his legs when needed. Something I hope to not see is miscommunication and irresponsible ball handling.
Those aspects have been minimized as the weeks progress and I hope they stay on the same track and keep improving. I am looking forward to some well-rounded and smart gameplay from the Cardinals. Kliff Kingsbury has made some errors but I believe he is the coach that will build off of these errors and improve every week like I believe he has.
It is going to be a battle of the young quarterbacks and the team with the best game plan is going to take the W.