Cardinals season preview: Murray, Kingsbury lead new offense

Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) runs as Oakland Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell (96) defends during the first half of a preseason game Thursday Aug. 15 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. [AP Photo/Rick Scuteri]

2018 record: (3-13)

New faces

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury, QB Kyler Murray, LB Terrell Suggs, OL J.R. Sweezy, OL Marcus Gilbert, CB Tramaine Brock, LB Jordan Hicks, CB Robert Alford, CB Byron Murphy, WR Andy Isabella, TE Maxx Williams, LB Brooks Reed.

Key losses

S Antoine Bethea, S Deone Bucannon, LB Markus Golden, LB Benson Mayowa, QB Josh Rosen, OG Mike Iupati

Strengths

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, right, talks with rookie quarterback Kyler Murray (1) during a training camp practice at State Farm Stadium Tuesday, Aug. 6 in Glendale. [AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin]
Offense is so untested, it’s hard to make predictions, but Cardinals certainly have potential to be explosive with Murray, receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk and running back David Johnson. Patrick Peterson is suspended for first six games, but when cornerback returns he’ll anchor secondary. In 3-4 defensive front, Terrell Suggs, Jordan Hicks and Chandler Jones will be counted on to have big seasons.

Weaknesses

Defense, specifically against run, could be problem. Secondary could also struggle through season’s first half: Peterson’s suspension hurts and Alford, other projected starting cornerback, suffered lower leg injury against Raiders and could miss extended time. Arizona’s quick-tempo offense also means defense might be on field plenty.

Fantasy players to watch

RB David Johnson is 27 and in line for big season in Kingsbury’s offense. He had 940 yards rushing and 446 yards receiving last year on team that really struggled on offense. If Kingsbury/Murray combo is able to get passing game going, there’s going to be lots of space for Johnson to work.

Vegas says

Win Super Bowl 135-1. Over/under wins 5.

Expectations

Cardinals certainly want to win more than three games, but modest improvement would be considered step forward in Kingsbury’s first season. What might be even more important is eye-test: Can Kingsbury’s up-tempo offensive style put pressure on NFL defenses? If Cardinals can establish their style, they could build a roster that could push toward playoffs over next few years.



You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.