GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Cardinals open training camp on July 25 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Here’s a closer look at a few storylines:
Can Kliff Kingsbury’s version of the Air Raid work in the NFL?
There are more things working in its favor than outsiders might understand. One major reason why is because Kingsbury doesn’t mind running the ball; the opposite of which can be a misconception of the Air Raid offense. Kingsbury has a unique offensive mind and that could be the biggest reason his scheme works.
In one word: Yes. After reaching 100 catches and 1,000 yards in 2015, 2016 and 2017, Fitzgerald missed both marks last season but can rebound in 2019 with Murray under center. Murray will need Fitzgerald as much as Fitzgerald needs Murray. Fitzgerald’s slot position also gets a lot of work in the Air Raid. Because of those two reasons, Fitzgerald will reach those milestones at age 36.
What kind of impact will Patrick Peterson‘s six-game suspension have on the Cardinals’ defense and its season?
A huge one. Bigger than most people think. Sure, the defense — on paper at least — looks as good as some of the Bruce Arians-era defenses. Peterson takes away half a field simply by being on the field. Yes, he’s that good and is that intimidating to quarterbacks. With Peterson off the field for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, defensive coordinator Vance Joseph now has to figure out a way to make up for Peterson’s ability to erase half a football field and let the 10 other players do their own thing while he hangs out on an island, defending WR1s.
Arizona will face a lot of good quarterbacks in the first six weeks: Detroit’s Matthew Stafford, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, Carolina’s Cam Newton, Seattle’s Russell Wilson, Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan. They will be picking on corners on both sides of the field without having to worry about Peterson.
Is Kyler Murray worth the hype?
It’s still too early to have a definitive answer to this question, but early returns are leaning toward yes. During OTAs and minicamp, Murray looked great — in drills. Yes, he throws a pretty ball, and you can see that he’s as quick and fast as advertised, but all of that is based on watching Murray in individual drills. His teammates raved about his offseason thus far, and it’s safe to say Murray has the makings of living up to the hype.
Can David Johnson return to the level he was at in 2016, when he led the NFL with more than 2,000 all-purpose yards?
There’s a better chance of Johnson having as good of a season as he did in 2016 than Fitzgerald catching 100 balls for 1,000 yards, because of how running backs are utilized in Kingsbury’s offense. He coached a 1,000-yard rusher at Texas Tech and all signs look like he’ll be using Johnson as a receiver more than Johnson was last season, and possibly more than Arians did in 2016. That means Johnson will continue to create mismatches and if Murray can get him the ball, then Johnson can take care of the rest, which means potentially reaching 1,000 receiving yards.