The temperatures are dropping and the leaves are turning, and the NFL trade deadline is just around the corner after Week 8. However, before fans can turn their attention to the trade deadline and the Seattle Seahawks potentially adding an impact player for the stretch run, Week 7 brings the Arizona Cardinals to town for Beak Week.
The Seahawks and Cardinals have headed in polar opposite directions since the 2021 season came to a close with the Hawks under .500 and the Cards in the playoffs. Seattle has the potential to dominate Sunday at Lumen, but as everyone who remembers the Week 7 matchup between these two clubs that finished in a 6-6 tie in 2016 knows, anything can happen when these two teams face off. Anything.
In any case, joining Field Gulls this week is Managing Editor of Revenge of the Birds, Seth Cox. He had quite a bit to say in response to the questions posed of him about the Cardinals and the matchup Sunday, so we’ll jump right to those.
1. The expectation coming into the season was that the Cardinals would not be competitive at all, and would be lucky to win a game. So far, though, they’ve played several teams close early before collapsing in the second half, and it’s hard to find football fans outside Dallas who were not amused by the upset of the Cowboys. What is fan sentiment right now regarding the team and its future?
I think for the first time it is starting to waver, as fans are getting tired of blowing strong first half performances for big losses in the second half.
The Cardinals are well prepared, and undermanned from a talent standpoint, so for me this is not a surprise.
They come in and can use their scheme to prepare and help them keep things close, but when the other team goes into halftime and makes adjustments, the Cardinals lack the talent to counterpunch those adjustments.
It is tough to watch, because you just see them out there not being able to compete or keep up.
So, the last two weeks seeing the team prepared, then seemingly unprepared coming out of the half and watching them get run off the field has started to see fans getting a little irritated. But, maybe the next three weeks will have something changing.
2. Sort of a continuation from the first question, but what have Monti Ossenfort and Jonathan Gannon brought to the Cardinals that differs from Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury? And are fans on board with things so far, in spite of the 1-5 record.
Monti and Jonathan have a vision. Whether that is a vision that works is one thing, but they have a vision.
Steve Keim had ghosts he was chasing, he had a nearly inept ability to draft, and he had a head coach in Kliff Kingsbury who wasn’t strong enough to push back.
Look at what the roster looks like now and you see what Keim did. He was chasing the ghost of Daryl Washington nearly his entire tenure (how else do you explain their obsession with drafting off-ball linebackers in round one?) and then he always felt like they had to go for it. (Editor’s Note: An off-ball linebacker in the first round? Haha. What kind of GM would do that?)
So, instead of looking at last year and saying… Okay, we are going to be without DeAndre Hopkins for six weeks because of a PED suspension, we need to beef up things around that and be ready to go when he gets back, Keim said… We have to get a wide receiver one to replace him for those six weeks so let’s trade the first round pick for Hollywood Brown.
Instead of looking at the future of a Tyler Linderbaum at center or a Jermaine Johnson off the edge, they traded for a wide receiver who is their clear best weapon, but is not signed for next year, and may not be in their long-term plans.
Why? Well, because they had to go for it.
Ossenfort and Gannon are looking at the future. They know they have to be ready for 2024 so they have spent the year cleaning out guys not in the future, or looking hard at players to see if they fit in with what they want.
That will extend to your fourth question as well, so no spoilers.
3. This is normally where I point out that Seattle fans are familiar with all the big names on the opponent’s roster, but many of the names for the Cardinals which are most recognizable to Seahawks fans are on injured reserve or the PUP list. With that said, who are the names Seattle fans may not be familiar with currently that they should know ahead of the game Sunday?
Emari Demercado has done a nice job as a backup running back and while he was the lead backup, he is still splitting carries with new starter Keaontay Ingram. The Cardinals need their running game in order to help take pressure off of Josh Dobbs.
Dennis Gardeck and Victor Dimukeje have both done nice work as part-time pass rushers for a defense who gets after the quarterback despite not having a singular pass rushing threat. That is what Nick Rallis and Jonathan Gannon have done well, scheme things up for guys like Dimukeje, Gardeck and Kevin Strong, most players who fans don’t know and probably should not know well.
The one guy I want to highlight is Dante Stills, their sixth round pick from this draft. Stills has done a nice job of creating penetration, getting into the backfield and making splash plays. He is not ready to be an every down player, but he is playing a lot just due to injuries.
Yet, he is one of the few players they have who can create negative plays with his quickness and burst off the line and in the interior. If he was playing 25% of the snaps it would be better, but he is playing closer to 50% and it has taken away from the positive plays because he just isn’t ready to play that much yet. However, they don’t have a lot of choices right now due to injuries.
4. Joshua Dobbs has been far from perfect, but his performance so far this season has far exceeded what I expected he would do. Where do things stand in terms of Kyler Murray’s recovery, and what does the future of the quarterback position look like for Arizona? (And would you be willing to trade Dobbs for Drew Lock straight up just so I don’t have to listen to the Lock Flock clamor for the Hawks to bench Geno?)
Haha, Dobbs started fine (we don’t even really talk about game one because he was here for a week). Yet, the last two games have been a nice reality check for fans.
After playing well against the San Francisco 49ers, he has looked completely overwhelmed the last two weeks.
The last two weeks, Dobbs has a sub 50% completion rate, 401 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions and two additional fumbles lost.
In the fourth quarter he is especially bad, which makes things worse.
So, with the news that Kyler Murray’s practice window is open, I think fans are ready for the Dobbs era to be over. In fact, people who watch and cover the team are starting to ask about rookie Clayton Tune.
Joshua Dobbs’ last two games: 49.3 completion percentage. 5.5 yards per attempt. 2 TDs, 3 ints. 3 missed TDs to Hollywood Brown alone.— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) October 16, 2023
He’s not to blame for every Cardinals offensive woe, but why be scared to play Clayton Tune in Seattle Sunday?
Is the downside that great?
If Murray comes back in the next two to three games, that should be it for Dobbs the starter, but he has shown he is a good backup quarterback who can get you through three game stretches.
He is just limited.
So, the team gives Murray 7-9 games to see what he has and what he can do within the new system.
It behooves the team for him to play well, simply because the way his contract is structured is that if they move on in 2024 they take a massive cap hit, then also have to rebuild with a new quarterback.
If Murray works out, the rebuild is accelerated because you have a ton of cap space, two picks in the top 15/20 of the 2024 NFL Draft and still have a young quarterback whose salary is already baked into the cap situation.
That is the biggest thing this team needs moving forward, Murray to work out so they can get to the next stage of things.
5. What’s your prediction for the game? The Cardinals are 7.5 point underdogs on DraftKings, but it feels like the worse the Cardinals are, the more dangerous they are to the Seahawks. So, will the Cards cover, or perhaps even pull the upset? And should fans be betting the over or the under, which is currently at 45?
I have gone back and forth on this one if the Cardinals can cover.
The Seahawks have not been as impressive as last year, but they are head and shoulders above the Arizona Cardinals and have at least four players that can do massive damage to this bad Cardinals defense… Even if Budda Baker is back, I don’t think Kyler plays this week by the way.
Good luck and good health to the Seahawks.