Arizona Cardinals’ frustrations evident heading into offseason

Jan 18, 2022, 6:02 PM | Updated: 6:56 pm
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals walks off the field after losing to the Los Angeles Rams 3...
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals walks off the field after losing to the Los Angeles Rams 34-11 in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at SoFi Stadium on January 17, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals began their offseason much sooner than many expected given their hot 7-0 start to the year.

But a screeching 1-4 finish to the regular season and a grim Wild Card exit to boot, the Cardinals are on the outside looking in as the playoffs roll on.

A third straight season of improvement in the win-loss column was overshadowed by an ugly 34-11 loss on Monday night.

Tuesday marked Day 1 of the offseason, and while players met with the media over Zoom calls, you could feel the disappointment through the screen.

“I definitely feel like it’s trending in the right direction … but it definitely is hard to see when you end the way that we did,” offensive lineman D.J. Humphries said Tuesday. “It’s definitely hard to see.”

“I think it was a tale of two seasons,” linebacker Jordan Hicks added Tuesday. “Starting off as fast as we did and as explosive as we did and as dominant as we did. Then somewhere in there, things started to fall apart. Adversity strikes on every team, adversity strikes in every season and we knew that was coming.”

Although Arizona’s postseason run came to a quick end, there’s still work to be done this offseason in preparation to right any of the correctable wrongs the team experienced in 2021.

For defensive lineman Zach Allen, he’s using the rough ending in Los Angeles as extra motivation.

“A lot of young guys got how the game changes and you get a taste of it,” Allen said Tuesday. “It definitely makes you more hungry for it, so I’m confident in this team that we’re definitely going to attack the offseason harder than we ever have and … make a run next year.”

From a head coaching perspective, Kliff Kingsbury has to find the balance of continuing to use the formula that has kept his record steadily climbing, while limiting those second-half-of-the-season skids he’s been accustomed to having over the course of his coaching career.

“That’s something I gotta continue to evaluate and figure out what we need to do, whether it’s practice structure or different things of that nature,” Kingsbury said Tuesday. “Because we got to be better.

“This league is about closing strong and building momentum into the playoffs and unfortunately, we didn’t do that.”

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