On August 30th, the Arizona Cardinals finalized their official 53-man roster. Many questions were finally answered regarding the team’s offensive depth.
With a stacked WR core, multiple running back options, and a profusion of young talent, the Cardinals front office, and coaching staff had their hands full.
The following players were released by the Cardinals before the final roster deadline:
- TE Stephen Anderson
- WR Andre Baccellia
- WR Victor Bolden Jr.
- LS Aaron Brewer
- OL Rashaad Coward
- QB Jarrett Guarantano
- OL Danny Isidora
- DL Manny Jones
- OLB Devon Kennard
- WR Jontre Kirklin
- OLB Jesse Luketa
- QB Trace McSorley
- WR JaVonta Payton
- TE Bernhard Seikovits
- CB Jace Whittaker
- S James Wiggins
- DL Antwaun Woods
- ILB Chandler Wooten
To begin, it was interesting to see the Cardinals stick with only two quarterbacks. Both Trace McSorley and Jarrett Guarantano combined to play for every single snap during the preseason. However, both were cut, and Arizona will stick with Kyler Murray to start and Colt McCoy at backup.
A key focus for the Cardinals is their wide receiver core. Heading into preseason, the Cards were sitting with 11 very talented receivers. Now, that number is down to seven and those seven may be the most talented in the NFL when combined.
Not only do the Cardinals have starters including Marquise Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, and A.J. Green, but Arizona also has a deeply improved backup core. Receivers including, Rondale Moore, Andy Isabella, Antoine Wesley, and Greg Dortch, will set up Kyler Murray with a huge handful of options.
Greg Dortch had some strong words to say about this group:
Greg Dortch calls #AZCardinals WR group "the best WR room I've been in and the fastest" (w/Hollywood Brown, Rondale Moore, Andy Isabella & himself).
— Paul Calvisi (@PaulCalvisi) August 31, 2022
One receiver, in particular, felt the wrath of this deep receiver depth. The ex-USFL star, Victor Bolden Jr., fell just short of making the final roster. In a week two preseason matchup against the Ravens, Bolden led the Cardinals in receiving yards with a total of 66. However, during a late 4th quarter punt by the Tennessee Titans, Victor Bolden Jr. muffled the catch which led to a Titans recovery. The fumbled punt led to the Cardinals losing 26-23. This one play may have made the cutting job a bit easier for the Cardinals.
Additional to the wide receiver strength, Arizona has stumbled upon a sneaky talented running back group. In what may have been a bit of surprise, the Cardinals kept all five running backs on the final roster.
- RB1 James Conner
- RB2 Eno Benjamin
- RB3 Darrel Williams
- RB4 Keaontay Ingram
- RB5 Jonathan Ward
The average age of this core is under 25.
For the first time in many years, the Cardinals have an offense loaded with weapons in every position. In the past couple of seasons, Arizona has not necessarily been known for being strong at TE.
The Cardinals finished 18th in the NFL for TE targets during the 2021 season. However, this number has improved tremendously since 2018 and 2019 when they were ranked 26th and 31st in the league. As the team continues to target their tight ends more and more, drafting Trey McBride with their first pick in the 2022 draft makes a lot of sense. With the rookie McBride having access to veteran knowledge from Zach Ertz, McBride can grow quickly and should see plenty of playing time this year.
Fans saw a glance of this improvement in tight end targeting after the Zach Ertz trade that took place after week 6. In just 11 games with Arizona, Ertz was targeted 81 times and caught 574 yards at a 66% catch rate.
Expect to see more stat lines like this from the Cardinals tight ends during 2022.
Unlike the running backs, the Cardinal’s offensive line is not quite as youthful. With an average age of over 30, Arizona will have to pray that injuries do not become a theme. However, old age brings veteran experience and skill. Rodney Hudson and Justin Pugh in particular can defiantly bring a spark to this O-line.
Yes, this core will not stand out but, they may just be good enough to support the rest of the loaded offense.
The Arizona Cardinals are fresh off a season in which they ranked top 10 in all offensive categories. To make matters even better, the Cardinals did not lose any talent in their offense, instead, they brought in more. Even with the DeAndre Hopkins suspension for the first six weeks, Arizona has plenty of other receiving options to fill this gap.
Kyler Murray is entering his 4th season in the NFL and has improved every single season since entering the league. Expect him to take full advantage of both young and veteran talent throughout the entire offense.
This very well might be the best offense that the Arizona Cardinals have produced in more than a decade.