DAN BICKLEY

Arizona Cardinals are doing right under head coach Jonathan Gannon

Jun 12, 2024, 6:44 PM | Updated: 7:11 pm

Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon isn’t built for sound bites but has brought in the right vib...

Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon looks on during the first half against the Seattle Seahawks at State Farm Stadium on January 07, 2024 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon isn’t built for sound bites. But he’s authentic. He’s sincere. And he just coined the catchphrase for the 2024 season. 

“Don’t do dumb, is the deal,” Gannon said of his farewell sentiments before the Cardinals scatter on summer vacation. 

Don’t do dumb is definitely the deal in Arizona. 

The Cardinals haven’t been doing dumb since Gannon and General Manager Monti Ossenfort arrived in Jan. 2023, at the apex of peak dysfunction under owner Michael Bidwill, a sloppy and slippery time when our NFL franchise lost their way and their compass, suffering major hits in perception. 

Things have changed for the better. Ossenfort is calculated, disciplined and targets the right kind of football players: hungry, professional, violent, aged 27-30. He plucked the right head coach out of a maelstrom, even if it broke some rules along the way.  

In return, Gannon brought in the right vibe and the right group of top assistants, an impossibly young crew that did not shirk or budge in the trenches, in the barrage of weekly warfare. They have created an uncommon level of trust in the locker room and beyond, a trust that belies their age and collective inexperience. 

The Cardinals could be the next worst-to-first success story in the NFL, a team taking the elevator from the basement to the penthouse in the single push of a button. It happens all the time. Why not them? Why not now? 

Their offense should be dynamic and dangerous. They’ve extinguished all signs of Pretty Boy Football, the catchphrase most associated with former head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Their new foundation is built on physicality and one of the most violent rushing attacks in the NFL. They have a quarterback who is eager to reclaim his MVP status and a rookie wide receiver built for stardom. 

The defense is still suspect, featuring a gaggle of high-energy, low-profile additions on the defensive line, the kind of guys that Ossenfort seems to relish. But there is no guarantee of a pass rush or third-and-long. Alas, there are no shortcuts to stopping great offensive players in the NFL.

Either way, when the Cardinals will report to training camp in July, they will feel a fresh wind at their backs. Faith is building. Hope is growing. Season tickets are scarce. For all our flaws as a sports town, the Valley is really good at spotting teams that are fresh, resonating and breaking through the clutter and propaganda, teams that truly speak to the people. 

It’s been a while since the Cardinals have been better than good. They are tied atop the longest playoff victory droughts among NFL franchises. But their courage and competence were an inspiration in 2023, a team that took its prizes in blood. And we’re all hungry for more. 

Reach Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. on Arizona Sports 98.7

Dan Bickley

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Arizona Cardinals are doing right under head coach Jonathan Gannon