For the first three weeks of the 2023 season, the Arizona Cardinals more than lived up to expectations.
Following a season-opening defeat where they were kept out of the end zone, the offence had made significant progress. Under the direction of head coach Jonathan Gannon and general manager Monti Ossenfort, the defence moved from being a major question mark to the team’s anchor. They were assembling momentum and advancement together.
This early pattern paid off in Week 3 with an outstanding 28-16 victory over a formidable Dallas Cowboys team, raising hopes that a turnaround was closer than many had thought.
As evidenced by the Cardinals’ 35-16 loss to the home club on Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers are a team unto themselves, even while the Cowboys are leagues above some.
Through all three phases,
the 49ers were a well-oiled football squad, as seen by their 396 total offence yards and 16 points allowed. They succeeded in placing their superstars in the most advantageous situations.
To ensure that any hint of a possible return was lost to the coastal breezes, San Francisco was not slow to demonstrate its strength. It also made sure to maintain its foot on the gas pedal.
Despite the 49ers’ victory on the scoreboard, there are still encouraging things to be learned from Arizona’s third loss of the year.
After the game, Gannon told Cardinals sideline reporter Paul Calvisi, “I told them after the game that I’m proud of them.” “They’re a strong football squad, and even though we battled, they won today. Although the execution and penalties were a little clearer for us to play with, the fight was still there. I have no doubts at all. We’ll make the necessary corrections, but I’m proud of them for how hard they fought today.
A look at a few of the Cardinals’ successful strategies from the Week 4 loss:Mike Wilson is that person.Wilson, like the offence of Arizona, came into Week 4 having increased his production with every game, to the point where he led the club in receiving yards (161).
The fact that he was only seeing seven catches on nine targets made his performance even more amazing. In contrast, running back James Conner entered the game level with Wilson in catches and ahead in targets (eight), while Zach Ertz and Hollywood Brown both had 14 more receptions than the rookie on 20 and 22 targets, respectively.
When it comes down to it, Wilson’s goal share from game to game has been the biggest drawback to his game.
But that wasn’t the case for one tilt, at least.
Wilson, who complemented Brown on the opposite side of the ball, set career records for touchdowns (2), receiving yards (96), and receptions (seven).
He was effective all over the field, scoring his first touchdown while lining up wide and then utilising the slot for touchdown number two.
On certain days, you can tell when a game will be good just by feeling it. I felt like that the entire week,” Wilson said to Calvisi. I had good mojo when I first arrived and woke up this morning because there’s something about playing in a place you know well. I felt fantastic when I woke up. It’s pleasant to return here and enjoy a respectable game.
The presence of my parents and my current closest buddy, who was my freshman roommate from Stanford, made me feel at ease in a familiar setting, and I think I did a respectable job of putting up a decent show.
The battle did not falter.Throughout the majority of the first half, the Cardinals were consistently hit hard in the mouth. They fell behind 21-3 with less than six minutes remaining at one point.
For the former Cardinals, there would be no hint of a resurgence.
On Sunday, though, that was not the case in Santa Clara.
QB Joshua Dobbs and the Cardinals offence put together their most comprehensive drive of the first half, reaching pay dirt after a 13-play, 92-yard drive to end the first thirty minutes of play. The team was hoping to respond to a 49ers touchdown with one of their own.
The second half reflected all of that success.
Despite starting the drive on their own one-yard line, Dobbs and the offence showed no signs of weakness as Arizona’s defence successfully forced a punt from San Francisco.
After the 49ers penalty and 11 plays later, the Cardinals offence drove 99 yards for another touchdown.
Dobbs was the driving force during both drives, using his arm and footwork to set up the two touchdown passes with youngster Wilson.
Dobbs found a groove behind 265 passing yards and two strikes on 28-of-41 passing on Sunday, despite a sluggish start. In addition, he ran the rock 12 times for 48 yards, a team record.
Although the 49ers won this game,
Dobbs and the team as a whole keep things moving in the right direction.
Linebacker Ezekiel Turner told Calvisi after the game, “I’ve definitely seen it coming here my rookie year in 2018.” I’ve just had a lot of highs and lows.
“There is no doubt that JG is steering this team in the correct direction. With an outstanding culture that holds everyone accountable, we’re moving on the right path. Simply put, I’m proud of us for the way we’ve been battling.
The life of a barbarianDennis Gardeck has been the most reliable linebacker for the Cardinals defence when it comes to pass-rushing.
Gardeck, who recorded Arizona’s lone sack in the 49ers’ defeat, now has four for the season after recording five tackles for loss, six quarterback hits, and a forced fumble in four games.
After his performance on Sunday, Gardeck only needs three more sacks to match his career high of seven from 2020.
A quick fix?Limiting penalties is one area that needs improvement, especially in the beginning.
Arizona had seven more penalties than first downs at one point in the first half.
That kind of split is unachievable for the Cardinals or any other team hoping to turn the page, even though they only committed two more penalties for the remainder of the game.Calvisi was advised by Gannon, “We got to play cleaner.”” That begins with our coaches teaching our men and ensuring that we are selecting the right plays during those big-bang sequences. We somewhat shot ourselves in the foot by playing a strong football squad. There is no way you can accomplish that.
Q1: What was the performance of the Arizona Cardinals throughout the first three weeks of training in 2023?
A1: The Arizona Cardinals surpassed expectations by making great strides in both offence and defence to open the 2023 season on a positive note.
Q2: This season, who were the major players steering the Cardinals?
A2: General manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon were instrumental in the team’s development, with Gannon spearheading the defense’s advancement.
Q3: Which of the Cardinals’ early-season performances stood out to you?
A3: The Cardinals defeated the Dallas Cowboys 28-16 in Week 3, a remarkable victory that gave fans optimism for a comeback.
Q4: How did the Cardinals perform in Week 4 versus the 49ers of San Francisco?
A4: Sadly, the 49ers, who showed their dominance in all three phases of the game, defeated the Cardinals 35–16.
Q5: Did the Cardinals’ defeat to the 49ers teach you anything?
A5: Yeah, there were several noteworthy positives despite the loss, like wide receiver Mike Wilson’s outstanding performance and the team’s perseverance.
Q6: In the 49ers game, what records did Mike Wilson break?
A6: During the game, Mike Wilson recorded career highs for touchdowns (2), receiving yards (96), and receptions (7).
Q7: In the second half of the game, how did the Cardinals improve?
A7: Joshua Dobbs, the quarterback, was essential in directing two touchdown drives, and the defense’s solid play helped swing the game.
Q8: In what area does the Cardinals need the most improvement?
A8: Since too many penalties might impede the team’s progress, limiting penalties is an important area that needs to be improved.
Q9: How is Dennis Gardeck, a linebacker, faring in the 2023 campaign?
Dennis Gardeck, who has four sacks, five tackles for loss, six quarterback hits, and a forced fumble in four games, has been a dependable pass-rusher for the Cardinals.
Q10: How does the team’s schedule for the remainder of the season look?
A10: Under the tutelage of head coach Jonathan Gannon, the team is hoping to build on its success and keep heading in the right direction. They have demonstrated promise and resiliency.