Will top 10 QB Sam Bradford guide Cardinals to promised land?

Welcome to the Podcast AF offseason review series, astutely titled “The Probe” – the unofficial official NFL offseason review series of the Vegas Golden Knights. Here, like most NFL “writers”, I will regurgitate takes I read or heard somewhere else and pass them off as original thoughts. Will Ryan Tannehill breakout in 2018? Was Mike McCarthy abandoned by the run game as a child? Does Saturn have a playoff atmosphere? Your questions, answered! Sponsored by “Ready Player One”, in theaters now!

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#10 – The Arizona Cardinals

Wow I made it to the 10th one these. I remember when I was 8 I thought I’d be dead by the time I was 12. That was a generous estimate because I knew there was an expectation to always finish my plate of food when I turned 10, which ostensibly would kill me. Age 12 saw me perform well in a scrimmage in youth football and the release of Fallout 3, but also Tom Brady tearing his ACL. Up and down year, but I’m happy we’re here.

I don’t have a problem with not finishing things, unlike Sam Bradford (or Finbarr Calamitous). Folks who know me know what I think of Sam Bradford. Going into 2017 I said he was a top 10 QB in the NFL, and for one game he was top 5.

I went long about how I like his signing better than the Kirk Cousins signing, so I won’t rehash all of that. The gist of it is that the Cardinals got a QB who has proven he can shred good defenses in spite of a bad offensive line, the Cardinals are in a tough division, they need to win for Larry Ftizgerald, and it won’t screw you financially if Bradford gets injured. If he does or doesn’t, my bet is he’s not the Cardinals’ starter in 2019 anyway, with all reports indicating the Cardinals will draft a QB this year.

The Cards signed OT Andre Smith and Justin Pugh, who was guard but was signed at an OT, to add to AQ Shipley at center and Mike Iupati at LG. Often times people will just spit recognizable names that they think carry weight, but don’t mistake me for that. These four did not have good seasons and Iupati and Shipley were oft-injured. LT DJ Humphries actually played fine but missed half the season with two separate knee injuries. So the Cardinals have a lot of names on the OL, but the questions are if they can bounce back, if they can stay healthy, and if any of them feels the effects of age.

No doubt that the presence of David Johnson helps everyone on the offense. He’s the Mother Teresa of opening up other aspects of the offense. The Cards will need that in 2018 with their lack of WRs. Ricky Seal-Jones, the only football player to ever develop a repertoire with Blaine Gabbert, will be a big part of this offense next year. Outside of Larry Fitzgerald, JJ Nelson is back as a speedy deep threat (that’s literally all he can do) and last year’s 3rd-round pick, Chad Williams, could become a bigger part of the offense.

I’ll wrap the offense side with the questions:

  • Sam Bradford stating healthy (he’s damn good when he is!)
  • Justin Pugh: guard or tackle?
  • OL: Notable names, but names don’t mean anything
  • WR: Larry and who else? Chad Williams coming along?
  • Mike McCoy’s scheme?

DEFENSE:

Movie Comparison: “Dark Knight”, but not because it’s one of the greatest movies ever but because they pulled a fast one and subbed in Maggie Gyllenhaal for Katie Holmes.

Part of the reason I picked the Cardinals for today is because today head coach Steve Wilks announced the defense would be switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3, mainly because he didn’t want Chandler Jones and Markus Golden dropping into coverage. So right of the bat you’ve got your two pass-rushing DEs, with Jones likely being on the field for most snaps. I’d assume the former interior DL will turn into the DTs in the 4-3, which would make Corey Peters (good), Olsen Pierre (good), Robert Nkemdiche (eh) and Paul Gunter (good) the rotational guys. Let’s be clear though, sometimes 3-4 players don’t translate to a 4-3.

With Jones jumping down to DE, that leaves Haason Reddick, free agent acquisition Josh Bynes, and Deone Bucannon as the linebackers. Reddick was good last season when he played ILB, but was forced to play OLB at times due to injury and struggled. But again, 3-4 OLBs aren’t 4-3 OLBs, so Reddick will likely be the WILL, Bynes the MIKE, and Bucannon, at least for the time being, the SAM.

Aside from Patrick Peterson, who I think its still Patrick Peterson, the rest of the secondary is going to be a work in progress. Brandon Williams is back from injury, while the release of the Honey Badger means last year’s 6th-round pick Rudy Ford is expected to start alongside last year’s 2nd-round pick Budda Baker, who is PFF’s 18th-ranked safety in the NFL. Ford could end up sitting if Wilks decides to go with Antione Bethea in 2018, who outperformed his age in 2017.

This defense is in for it this year. In addition to having to plays the Rams, 49ers, and Seahawks twice, they have matchups with the Chargers, Chiefs, Lions, Packers, Vikings, Bears, and Falcons. Yikes. Hopefully they have a QB who can play keep up with the opposing offense…

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MAJOR DRAFT NEEDS: WR, probably OL competition, and QB of future?

Reader Question:

So I’ve watched the first two episodes of “Barry” and I’m concerned. What do you think so far? – Bill from Tulsa

Bill episode 3 will blow you away. Dead cereal. I really hope the rest of the series is as funny and creative as episode 3.

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Prisco’s Pickanosis:

In honor of Pete Prisco telling me I’m dumb and that I’ll fail, here’s this entry’s edition of “Prisco’s Pickanosis,” where I highlight something the Tom Brady of acting like an infant on Twitter was completely wrong about.

I’ll have to admit, Prisco is on the good team with his Bradford takes and using the keywords I did it was tough to find something that carried weight.

Hating Pete Prisco aside, I understand writers have to make predictions every offseason and can’t be held to every single one. But not all writers are complete pricks to everyone who interacts with them on Twitter. Pete Pricksco?

@JohnAnders42