Heads or tails? It’s the question answered at the start of every game. It’s also a perfect metaphor for things trending up and those trending down. After a week one tie against the Lions, the Arizona Cardinals have players trending in both directions. Today we take a moment and decide which Arizona players landed heads up, and which ones fell flat on their tails.
In what many fear could be his final opening day, Fitzgerald finished with eight receptions for 113 yards and a score. He had a pair of diving grabs, amazing the crowd in the process. Fitzgerald was the go-to option when it counted for quarterback Kyler Murray. There is obvious chemistry between the rookie and the veteran. For Fitzgerald, it was a nice palate cleanser after a disappointing 2018.
The running back narrowly missed the 1,000 yards rushing mark in 2018. It was a quiet season for the biggest weapon on the Arizona offense. On Sunday, Johnson reestablished himself as one of the best dual-threat running backs in the NFL. Johnson ran the football for 82 yards on 18 carries, for an average of 4.6 yards per carry. He added 55 yards receiving on six grabs, including a touchdown. Arizona could have used Johnson more but failed to focus on the running back during the early stages of the game.
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As the head of Ball So Hard University, Suggs made a triumphant return to Arizona. In his first game with the Cardinals, Suggs began slowly against the Lions. The veteran pass rusher picked up production by the end of the game, finishing with two sacks and five tackles. Suggs settled down and brought consistent pressure. As the defense gets additional time in the system, expect many more sacks for Suggs.
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Isabella featured as the Arizona kickoff returner on Sunday. He finished with 86 yards on four returns. However, what gets him on the list is the lack of playing time on offense. According to Pro Football Reference, Isabella not only failed to make a reception, but he also failed to play a single snap on offense. Isabella is currently listed last on the depth chart and has a ways to go to be a regular participant on offense.
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The second-year running back showed promise in 2018. He played roughly 21% of offensive snaps last season as the primary backup at running back. On Sunday, Edmonds found himself on the field for just 10 offensive plays or 11% of the total snaps on offense. The lack of playing time could speak more to the ability of David Johnson than Edmonds. Johnson is a unique talent and commands the football. In time, it will be interesting to keep an eye on how much of the pie that Edmonds can get.
It’s Week One
At the end of the day, we’re looking at performances from the first game of the season. The Cardinals have a revamped roster and a brand new coaching staff. It will take time for rotations to settle and players to grow comfortable in their roles. Arizona has a trip to Baltimore to take on the Ravens on Sunday. It will be an early test for both sides of the football. We’ll be back next week to diagnose the game and find out who is up and who is down.