The Cardinals were a mix of the good, bad, and ugly in a 20-16 Week 1 loss to the Washington Commanders. While the defense did a phenomenal job not just keeping Arizona close, but generating needed points, offensively, they were incredibly inept. Newly acquired Josh Dobbs, a ringer for offensive coordinator Drew Petzing and GM Monti Ossenfort, looked lost at times and did not have a firm grasp of the Cardinals offense.
The Cardinals Good: Defense
Arizona and Washington played an entertaining game to open their respective seasons in Landover, MD. Both teams engaged in a scrum or two as the Cardinals defense managed to land a few late hits out of bounds. For the day, the best part of Week 1 was the six-sacks, and three-turnover from the Cardinals “D”. Coordinator Nick Rallis had his squad ready from the opening snap. Zaven Collins had a pick and Kyzir White was all over the field. Perhaps the best of the day was Dennis Gardeck. Gardeck had two big sacks, including one that went for a pick-six. This game could have been a blowout early if not for the Arizona defense.
The Cardinals Bad: Josh Dobbs
The brain trust in Arizona believed that you could simply plug and play with veteran also-ran Josh Dobbs. Since 2017, the former Tennessee Volunteer has worn seven different uniforms including twice with the team that originally drafted him, the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2022 alone, he was with the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, and Tennessee Titans. He was officially named the No.2 quarterback in Cleveland when he was suddenly shipped to Arizona to be the Cardinals starter.
His numerous stops are for a reason. Dobbs is, at best, a career backup who steps in for emergency snaps when a starter goes down. Make no mistake, Dobbs is not a starting quarterback now or ever. Yesterday against the Commanders, he looked about as bad as a professional football player can look.
For the day, the quarterback position gave up three fumbles, lost two, and did not get the Cardinals into the end zone. Two of the turnovers would lead to 10 points for Washington.
The Cardinals Ugly: Decision Making
Much was made about the decision-making skills of Jonathan Gannon. On Sunday, there was not much to make of his decisions.
The Cardinals will need to win games, at least early on in the 2023 season, with a sound and opportunistic defense. Based on what we saw of Dobbs, a game-winning performance with him at the controls is above his skill set. But beyond that, you never thought Gannon really “got it” for a first-year coach. Maybe that will come, or perhaps he will grow into the role. But the best coach on the field in Landover yesterday was DC Nick Rallis. For that alone, Cardinals fans should be confident that things should be in good shape on the other side of the football.
One last take on Dobbs—he was a special kind of disaster on Sunday. Perhaps with one game under his belt, improvement comes in Week 2. That said, Gannon has a point he wants to make, so expect to see Dobbs indefinitely until either Kyler Murray is ready, or hell freezes over in the desert.
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