Having attended the Arizona Cardinals’ draft party, the Fanfest and the Red/White scrimmage over the past few months, there has been a noticeable change within the Arizona Cardinals organization under the new GM and head coach. But as an Arizona Cardinals’ fan, we’ve seen this act before, too many times. So many of the fans I spoke to at these events all had a guarded optimism about the coming season. With good draft selections and the proper amount of beer consumption, many Cardinal fans decided to nut it up one more season, throw caution to the wind and open our hearts one more time, to the possibility of another heartbreaking season.
As our preseason schedule arrived, we draw the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau, not exactly a great place to kick off a season following two horrendous seasons prior. But there was no choice in the matter and last Friday, the Cards took the field so we could get a look at all our offseason acquisitions. The Pack were the first ones to move the ball well and took the ball down to the one yard line. The Packers, with very little respect for the Cardinals defense, decided they could punch the ball in the end zone and went for it on 4th and extremely short…….enter the Cardinals defense. The Packers got stuffed on 4th down and the Cards offense took over at the goal line. What a statement by the Cardinals defense, who despite our lack of success winning games last year, still showed why they were still one of the top rated defenses.
But the excitement of the goal line stand came to an abrupt stop when the offense took over because in that moment in time, every Cardinal fan in the country that was watching were so nervous about the possibility of getting caught for a safety, you couldn’t pound a needle up their butt with a sledge hammer. The first play from scrimmage, Carson Palmer drops back to throw from his own end zone. Palmer hits Larry Fitzgerald on an out pattern for about 15 yards for the first down and getting the offense out of trouble. What most of the Cardinal fans missed, me included, was a key block by Michael Floyd on a blitzing Clay Matthews to avoid the sack and safety and making it possible for Palmer to complete the pass.
So many fans I spoke to all missed that block and I had to think of “why was that?”. After some thought it came to me, many fans missed that block because replays from the past two years watching our QB’s getting sacked in the end zone flashed before our eyes, but thank God, it is a new day. The rest is history, the Cardinals went on to thoroughly handle the Packers sending the cheeseheads home to prepare for another long cold winter, with a 17-0 loss. After all, it is August and it can snow at any moment in Wisconsin so topping it off with a loss was fricken awesome. Like Packer fans need another reason to guzzle beer, we gave them one, so mazel tov! Cheeseheads! Now go get the snow-blowers ready for another six-month winter.
The Cardinals and their fans are still approaching this season with a guarded optimism because we have over 50 new players on the roster, with an aging QB and a brand new O-line, anything can happen. But this win was huge, I know all the Packer fans will respond “it’s just preseason”, true but not for the Cardinals. This team needs to get a winning mentality and every time they set foot on the field, winning is top priority. Overall I give the Cardinals an official “ATTABOY”! We hope to avoid handing out any “AHHSCHITZ” this season. Time will tell but this was a good start.
Stay tuned for my review of the Cardinals game against the Cowboys from this coming Saturday’s game. Remember, GO CARDINALS…….Niners suck!
Dale Shepard is an NFL writer for TPF and can be contacted at DShepard@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com