The top two teams in the NFC West both had performances in Week 1 they might want to forget.
Criticism rained on the Arizona Cardinals’ early 2016 parade when the team fell to the Tom Brady-Rob Gronkowski-less New England Patriots 23-21. General Manager Steve Keim openly expressed his feelings from the team’s first game, saying it makes him “angry, disappointed and embarrassed”.
ESPN NFL analyst John Clayton joined Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday morning and was asked which team looked worse in their 2016 opener, the Cardinals or the Seahawks.
“Arizona,” he answered. “I never thought that you could go in with a New England Patriots team, be down five starters on offense, including Tom Brady, and with the talent that’s on that Arizona defense for Arizona to lose that game. I could not envision it. I thought it was going to be so one-sided, it should’ve been probably a 17-point win. Didn’t turn out to be that way.”
These types of games may put things in perspective for a team that’s a serious Super Bowl contender. Arizona committed errors in all facets of the game, ending with a missed potential game-winning field goal by Chandler Catanzaro. Head coach Bruce Arians admits there were mistakes, but fixable ones.
The team the Cardinals are fighting against for NFC West supremacy, the Seattle Seahawks, also had a rough first week of regular season play, beating the Miami Dolphins 12-10. Clayton explained Seattle, unlike Arizona, did what was necessary to win.
“Seattle, defensively they were fine. Miami couldn’t run the football, (Ryan) Tannehill had nobody to throw to because everything was pretty well covered,” Clayton said. “The offensive line played horribly for the Seahawks, which that’s no surprise, that’s been kind of a trend for the last couple years, part of it was losing Germain Ifedi with the ankle injury five days before the game and had to go with J’Marcus Webb and he looked pretty bad out there. In the end, they were able to play enough good defense and get one good drive out of an injured-Russell Wilson to be able to win the football game.”
Wilson injured his right ankle during the third quarter when Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh sacked the quarterback.
Heading into Week 2, both teams will be looking for greener pastures, so to speak. While Wilson is expected to play, Seattle’s offensive line faces a daunting task against the Los Angeles Rams’ defensive front. The Rams weren’t able to produce any pressure in the team’s 28-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, only recording one quarterback hit on Blaine Gabbert and no sacks, but Los Angeles may find it easier against Seattle’s questionable offensive line.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals welcome one of the league’s up-and-coming quarterbacks to Glendale in Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston. Against the Atlanta Falcons, Winston threw for 281 yards and four touchdowns.
With New England’s Jimmy Garroppolo carving up Arizona’s defense in Week 1 — specifically rookie defensive back Brandon Williams — the team claimed former Seahawks cornerback Tharold Simon off waivers.
“He’s a great talent, he’s a guy who’s a long angular type of cornerback, talented enough that Richard Sherman thought that if he could ever get it down he could be better than Richard Sherman,” Clayton said. “Problem is he’s always hurt, and they just got tired of it. Last year going into the opening game against at that time St. Louis Rams, he was supposed to be the outside starter if they were going to go three corners, because they were still trying to get Jeremy Lane back healthy and all of a sudden here’s Simon with another injury. So here it is, last week, he was technically the fourth corner because he lost (a spot to) DeShawn Shead, but he still might have had some playing time. Wednesday’s practice comes up and his knee’s bothering him, so I think they just gave up on him.”
As the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Keim sure hopes that’s the case, as he tries to hit gold on another forgotten player.
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