The NFL season is finally underway. The first game of the season was Thursday night and featured two teams I’ve been genetically predisposed to hate my entire life. But for most people, the season doesn’t start until Sunday when everyone else plays. For Lions fans, it’s 4:25 p.m. ET.
While we wait, it’s a good time to learn about the enemy. Reisman came to me this offseason and asked if I could start doing the weekly questions with the opponent’s sites. I told him I’d do it if I could do it my way. As usual he gave me full carte blanche. So this year get used to seeing me ask the questions that I want to ask to get the answers you want to hear. But first, let me tell you all the things I know about the Cardinals.
When I think of the Cardinals I think of two things. The time I crashed a golf cart into somebody’s living room in Arizona and this.
I suppose the other thing is that the Lions play this team every single season it seems. I’ve seen these two teams play 137 times in my life and I’m only 33. Previous to last season, the Lions hadn’t won in the desert since 1993 when “Wayne’s World 2” was the number one movie in the country.
Alright let's ask the experts. We got in touch with Seth Cox from Revenge of the Birds to learn what he knows about this team and their new head coach Ryan Gosling. Here’s what he had to say.
What’s going on with this fancy Kliff Kingsbury offense
“That’s the question we are all waiting to have answered. They played with no tempo in the preseason, huddling up and running a number of pro-sets, two and three tight end sets and did not do much with Kyler Murray. We know after cuts that the three tight end sets are mostly dead, the team only has two tight ends on the roster, and we know they are going to go tempo from the jump. They rarely huddle and try to get plays off in under 17 seconds. From there, we will see and that was all we have been waiting for. What will this offense look like? It’s fair to ask and quite frankly, we’ll learn as much as you.”
Everybody is hurt on this defense. Especially the secondary. Where will this team shine?
“Umm… they have really talented safeties in Budda Baker and D.J. Swearinger. Their corners are solid when healthy, but with Patrick Peterson suspended and Robert Alford injured, it’s a rookie in Byron Murphy and a journeyman in Tramaine Brock.
Along the line, Corey Peters is steady, but the team needs Zach Allen to grow up fast while getting Jordan Hicks to prove he is healthy and Haason Reddick to finally live up to his draft status. The defense is as much of a question mark as the offense, just for much different reasons.”
What under the radar player should the Lions be concerned about?
“Kyler Murray? I kid. Jordan Hicks is the big offseason signing. The team needs Hicks to be the player he was when healthy in Philadelphia. They need him to command the defense, help get the young guys into position and be a force against the run. Hicks may not be well known, but the Cardinals are expecting him to be a huge player and the key to their defensive success.”
What are your thoughts on the Lions?
“I’m fascinated by the way they are building. They obviously are allowing Matt Patricia to build in his image, which I respect after the Cardinals did the opposite for Steve Wilks in 2018. They’re putting a premium on the lines and have done a great job of developing wide receiver talent without breaking the bank. I’m really interested in T.J. Hockenson and how the Lions deploy him. Is he a dynamic two-way tight end or will he be just an extension of the offensive line, he’s admittedly an amazing blocker, early in his career?”
Who ya got?
“I go back and forth. I respect the hell out of the Lions, but I am hopeful the cloak and daggers of the preseason and training camp is worth it with a win to open things up for the Arizona Cardinals. That’s the thing, I am almost just hoping the weird offseason has a payoff with the Arizona Cardinals winning a close game. 30-28”