Rapid reactions: Cardinals give positive vibes going into offseason
Jan 7, 2024, 7:46 PM | Updated: 11:24 pm
(Arizona Sports Photo/Felisa Cardenas)
The 2023 season is over for the Arizona Cardinals, a 4-13 team that played competitive games throughout the second half of the year with Kyler Murray back at quarterback.
The Cardinals closed the campaign with a 21-20 loss at home to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, one in which kicker Matt Prater — who had a terrific season — missed a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter, including one in the closing seconds.
The vibes postgame were positive, with excitement and confidence for the future of the franchise under head coach Jonathan Gannon and general manager Monti Ossenfort.
Arizona’s offseason is here, and the Cardinals will pick fourth overall in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Arizona Sports’ hosts, editors and reporters gave their biggest takeaways from the Cardinals’ loss and the offseason ahead.
Dave Burns, co-host of Burns & Gambo: Do you believe in karma? Once again the Cardinals played with a passion, played to win, put themselves in a great position to do so. It’s been the vibe all season; a team that never once played like it was trying to get a draft pick. It’s (probably) ridiculous to suggest they were rewarded for that when Matt Prater missed a field goal that he most certainly normally makes and yet it couldn’t have worked out any better. By missing the field goal — and for what it is worth there was Prater taking questions about it in the locker room — the Cards locked themselves in to the fourth pick in the draft. Make the field goal and it’s the fifth pick.
Now maybe Marvin Harrison Jr. is gone anyway or maybe the Cards trade the pick for a treasure trove but the better the pick the better the options, and it feels like a reward for a team that did it the right way the whole season.
The other takeaway from tonight is the comments from Kyler Murray, who sounded content with the state of the franchise. He spoke of the 180-degree turn with his confidence in the organization. He called it one of his favorite teams to be a part of. He and Jonathan Gannon sounded supremely confident that better days are ahead. We can all only hope they are right.
Tyler Drake, Arizona Sports’ Cardinals reporter, Cardinals Corner co-host: The Arizona Cardinals came oh, so close at ending the season on a high note on Sunday night. Instead, a missed Matt Prater FG as time expired sealed Arizona’s season at 4-13.
But while the loss stings inside the locker room, head coach Jonathan Gannon is more enthused than ever for his team heading into the offseason.
It’s far from just him, too.
Kyler Murray called the culture shift within the organization a “complete 180” and spoke on how refreshing it has been seeing those above him being accountable for their actions. Despite the loss, there was a ton of optimism from numerous players about where this team can really go.
You know what else is refreshing? The fact that we don’t have to go through another offseason wondering about whether or not Kyler Murray is the team’s future or not. He is. End of story.
And if we really want to get down to it, the loss helped exponentially in locking the Cardinals into the No. 4 spot in the 2024 NFL Draft. Marvin Harrison Jr. could very much be there, and after he liked the video of Prater’s miss to end the game, there’s even more intrigue into what Monti Ossenfort might cook up on draft day.
Let the offseason begin!
Alex Weiner, Arizona Sports web editor: That second half went about as well as it could have, right? The Cardinals, after trailing 13-6 at halftime, scored touchdowns on two of their first three drives. That included faking a field-goal attempt with Prater to set up what was Murray’s final touchdown pass of the season to take the lead in the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals gave Prater two more field-goal tries, which he uncharacteristically missed, but Arizona played up to a playoff-contending opponent once again. The loss came with the added victory of ensuring the No. 4 pick and getting James Conner to 1,000 rushing yards for the first time. Conner had a few awesome runs, including his 29-yard touchdown and 27-yard rush to break 1,000.
Murray had one of his best games since his season debut with 262 passing yards, 33 on the ground while completing 22-of-30 throws. In his last three games, Murray threw six touchdowns with one interception, 724 passing yards and 89 rushing yards.
He is the guy going forward, which opens up Arizona’s ability to build a roster around him with a myriad of draft picks. There’s a great opportunity in Arizona to build a more sustainable contender than in the past, so this will be a fascinating offseason to follow.