Arizona Cardinals confident rocky start can benefit team down the road
TEMPE — There has been no shortage of adversity for the Arizona Cardinals early on this season.
On the injury front, starters Rondale Moore (3), J.J. Watt (1) and Antonio Hamilton (3) are among those who have already missed games, while A.J. Green is trending toward out for Week 4.
Then there’s the slow starts, an aspect of the Cardinals’ current makeup they can’t seem to shake. Arizona has been outscored 31-0 by opponents in the first half through three weeks.
And while all three phases of the football team have looked disconnected through all but two quarters of play in 2022, the offense projected to carry the team has been unexpectedly rough, with quarterback Kyler Murray and head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s group ranking 21st in DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average), according to Football Outsiders.
Outside of the Cardinals’ improbable comeback win over the Las Vegas Raiders in overtime, positives remain at a premium for the franchise ahead of a Week 4 matchup against the Carolina Panthers.
The start hasn’t been anywhere close to last year when the Cardinals were undefeated and firing at all cylinders.
But maybe there’s a silver lining to it, especially after the team’s second-half-of-the-season implosion and ugly NFC Wild Card exit last year.
“I think the way that (the season has started) is going to turn out to be in our favor,” linebacker Dennis Gardeck said Tuesday.
“That kind of growth mindset of pressing, leaving no stone unturned, being able to constantly reevaluate from not a detached position but an area where you’re open-minded to whatever we can do to get better, we’re going to do and we’re going to correct it. We’re going to address it and we know it’s going to be better each and every week. I think that’s going to help us down the road.”
Maybe they have no choice, but head coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray share the same sentiment.
How last season ended and the way this one began haven’t been lost on them.
And while Kingsbury and Murray aren’t ones to welcome all the adversity, they’d rather face it now with a chance to still right the ship than later on in the season when the margin for error is razor thin.
“It’s just a little bit of adversity. That’s never hurt anybody,” Murray said. “I think everyone in this room has felt adversity, everybody in the locker room has felt adversity. Otherwise, we probably wouldn’t be where we are. I’m not too much phased by it at all. I know the guys aren’t.
“Obviously, it feels ugly right now to feel the feeling of losing and stuff like that. But we definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel. We continue to work hard and get better.”