Cardinals open 2021 season 20th in Touchdown Wire’s power rankings
The Arizona Cardinals believe they should win games and be playoff contenders this season. They will have to win over some writers. USA TODAY’s Nate Davis has them ranked only 21st in the league.
The trend continues with new power rankings from Touchdown Wire’s Nick Wojton.
The Cardinals are 20th in the league.
QB Kyler Murray might have to pick up the pieces for a defense dealing with the loss of cornerback Malcolm Butler to an abrupt retirement. Can he? It might be his time to show he can carry the load this season, especially if there are any slow games for the Cards’ pass rush.
Writers recently are focusing on the sudden retirement of Butler and believe the Cardinals’ pass defense is suspect. Cornerback is indeed a question, as rookie Marco Wilson, drafted in the fourth round this year, will have a prominent role.
However, without Chandler Jones last season and with a less-than-stellar Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick, who remains unsigned this year, the Cardinals had the 10th-best pass defense.
Peterson wasn’t good last season. He had a couple of very good games, but he also had bad games, and his bad last season was bad. Kirkpatrick was serviceable.
Because of defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s schemes, adequate cornerback play is needed. Byron Murphy is primed to be great this season. Robert Alford is more than capable and Wilson has great promise.
What people seem to be forgetting is that the Cardinals were a missed Zane Gonzalez field goal in New England from making playoffs last year, and they are at least as good at every position as they were last year.
Yes, they are in the toughest division in the NFL in the NFC West, but having the Cardinals anywhere lower than 14th or 15th is just disrespectful.
It shows how little confidence there is in head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who has led the Cardinals to more or less exactly what anyone reasonably could have expected in two seasons.
They should be considered playoff contenders. Kyler Murray continues to improve. They have a better offensive line. They have better receivers. They added to their pass rush. They got more athletic in the middle of the defense.
This is a team many are simply overlooking.