Cardinals show need for new investment and personnel in loss to Bears

Dec 24, 2023, 6:38 PM | Updated: 8:30 pm

Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals walks off the field after the game against the Chicago Bea...

Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals walks off the field after the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 24, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

The finish line is getting close. And it’s arriving just in time for the 2023 Cardinals, a team that badly needs a few coats of paint and a serious investment in payroll.

Their 27-16 defeat to the Bears on Sunday was mostly a brutal slog. The collective performance was uninspired and unwatchable. Unlike some of their recent efforts, Week 16 delivered very little pride and promise for the future.

To the contrary, it revealed an Arizona team stripped of high-end talent and laid bare for all to see, when the calendar finds most NFL bottom feeders on life support.

Until the late heroics of the perpetually underrated Greg Dortch, the defeat again exposed one of the worst receiving groups in the NFL. It indicted a coaching staff that made a number of questionable decisions in the fourth quarter, when the Cardinals attempted a late rally.

Details don’t matter when you’re 3-12. But the Cardinals continue to squander momentum after rare touchdowns with premature and ill-fated attempts at two-point conversions, in which they appear like a desperate gambler chasing lost money; in which they are now a feeble 3-for-12.

The offense has also been reduced to the brute force of James Conner or passes to Trey McBride or Matt Prater field goals from some neighboring zip code.

This was not an individual victory for quarterback Kyler Murray, who again hovered somewhere between average and good. His numbers were OK: 230 passing yards, 32 rushing yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. But the Cardinals had only nine first downs through the first three quarters and they only finished with 16 points.

Entering Sunday’s game in Chicago, Murray had made staggered progress. He had logged passer ratings of 71, 84.6, 83.2, 89.9 and 67.4, which is not exactly the stuff of legends. He’s also looked supremely athletic and in command at times, showing occasional flashes of brilliance.

It’s also hard to fairly gauge Murray at the moment, at a time when he’s returning from major knee surgery and holding the reins of a new offense.

Bottom line: The 2023 Cardinals were built to fail. There was very limited investment in personnel and very little effort to replace the star-studded talents of J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins. We all knew what we were getting into, a year when Jonathan Gannon was tasked with laying a foundation and building a winning culture while somehow absorbing a growing pile of losses.

The Cardinals are close to finishing the job. They have a grudge match in Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve, a game that might get bloody. They have a home game against the Seahawks, a team in playoff contention, when Seattle fans are guaranteed to overtake State Farm Stadium.

This is the season when zombie football overtakes the NFL. Somehow, the Cardinals need to play hard, stay close and save face. They need to get out of this season intact, with the third overall pick in the NFL draft and no more black eyes. And then we can all get on with our future.

Reach Bickley at Listen to Bickley & Marotta mornings from 6-10 a.m. on Arizona Sports

Presented By
Western Governors University


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinal wins the Topham Handicap Chase race on the second day of the Grand National Festiv...

Tyler Drake

High horse: Arizona Cardinal takes home Topham Handicap Chase victory

Given the same namesake as the NFL team, Arizona Cardinal finished first in the Topham Handicap Chase on Friday morning.

1 day ago

Monti Ossenfort could control the draft if he trades the No.4 pick, NFL Draft insider Matt Miller s...

Bailey Leasure

ESPN’s Miller: It would take a ‘Trey Lance’ trade package to move Cardinals out of No. 4

NFL Draft insider Matt Miller thinks the Arizona Cardinals could control the 2024 NFL Draft if they decide to trade down.

1 day ago

Presented By...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Arizona Cardinals in good spot with No. 4 pick in 2024 NFL Draft

The Arizona Cardinals have a lot of leverage when it comes to their No. 4 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Burns & Gambo talk about what could be if other teams give GM Monti Ossenfort a call about it.

2 days ago

Nate Wiggins #DB42 of Clemson participates in the 40-yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil ...

Damon Allred

Arizona Cardinals could trade up from No. 27 for a cornerback, ESPN says

After some successful maneuvering a year ago, Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort is poised to do the same in the 2024 NFL Draft.

2 days ago

Darius Robinson makes a tackle...

Tyler Drake

Cardinals address 2 big defensive needs in Mel Kiper Jr.’s 2-round NFL mock draft

The Arizona Cardinals added a pass rusher and a cornerback in ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest two-round mock NFL Draft.

2 days ago

Marvin Harrison Jr. looks on...

Tyler Drake

Mel Kiper Jr. still has Cardinals landing Marvin Harrison Jr. in latest NFL mock draft

Marvin Harrison Jr. is still the answer for the Cardinals at No. 4 overall following a run of quarterbacks in Mel Kiper's latest mock draft.

3 days ago

Cardinals show need for new investment and personnel in loss to Bears