Cardinals’ expectations instantly soar

Arizona Cardinals v New England Patriots
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The addition of J.J. Watt has caused expectations to soar for the Cardinals. The business side of the team’s operation surely loves it.

The football side surely doesn’t.

When the red wave of ticket renewals and Marshall Goldberg J.J. Watt jersey sales ends, the football team will be left with expectations that it may be unable to meet. The Cardinals belong to the best division in football, and the Rams seem to be getting better. The 49ers, if healthy, will be as good as they were in 2019. The Seahawks, if they can placate Russell Wilson, will once again be a force.

Last year, Arizona finished third in the division, slumping down the stretch with a 2-5 record after the Hail Murray play bumped the Cardinals to 6-3. This year, third place (or possibly even fourth place) could be a real possibility. (That said, they could finish in fourth place in the division and still get a wild card berth.)

At some point, someone needs to slam on the brakes. Coach Kliff Kingsbury should be the one to do it, because Kingsbury is the one who’ll take the heat if the Cardinals fail to be as good as everyone thinks they’ll be.

And people definitely think they’ll be good. My nephew is a huge Cardinals fan, and he texted on Monday afternoon, “Cardinals are winning the Super Bowl this year.”

They could. But if the general expectations with the arrival of Watt are that the Cardinals will be contenders, that’s a high bar for a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2015. And if the team fails to meet that bar, it’s Kingsbury who will be sweating out whether he gets a fourth year.

Thus, while it makes no business sense to do it now, Kingsbury at some point needs to let the world know that the Cardinals have a long way to go to become a Super Bowl contender. And he needs to hope the world (or at least Cardinals fans and media) listen.

27 responses to “Cardinals’ expectations instantly soar

  1. Don’t coaches usually get the pink slip if they fail to make the playoffs in their first three years anyway??

  2. They just overpaid and aging Watt in cap hell and their easily injured and very small qb is bringing them to the sb? Laughable.

  3. J.J. Watt is a huge name and a good player, plus a stand up dude off the field. That said, his career sun is setting and he didn’t make the Texans a perennial contender even in his prime. It’s possible he’ll be what the Cardinals need to become a true contender, but I don’t think it’s very likely.

  4. As a Redskins fan let me assure you…winning the offseason free-agency super bowl only nets you a top 10 pick in the following NFL Draft.

    From Phillys “Dream Team” to this years Cardinals team….

    It always ends in disaster

  5. The Cardinals aren’t the best team in their own division….much less so their own conference or their entire league!

  6. Rumors going round Watt was selfish and only cared about sacks, which is not surprising considering he always wilted vs good competition.

  7. Wow, just Wow. The Cards sign a decent player and the haters are out in force. Does JJ make them a SB contender? Of course not. Does it make them a better team? Most likely yes. Is that wrong? You fanboys are something else.

  8. The Rams should be favored to win the division if the Matt Stafford stays healthy

  9. They definitely got the final piece to get over the hump. This should get them to .500. Playoffs?!?!?

  10. mlhigh77 says:
    March 2, 2021 at 8:38 pm
    Wow, just Wow. The Cards sign a decent player and the haters are out in force. Does JJ make them a SB contender? Of course not. Does it make them a better team? Most likely yes. Is that wrong? You fanboys are something else.


    No one disputes that Watt makes the Cardinals a better team; that’s a given. However, when people see the headline “expectations instantly soar,” they’re right to be skeptical given that Watt, as great a player he was and a person he might be, seems unlikely to be that big an addition.

    I like JJ Watt, but face it. Dude’s played 60% of all possible regular season games over the past half-decade. His production hasn’t been that good for a few seasons. You don’t have to hate the Cardinals (I don’t care about them one way or the other) or have an issue with Watt to see that. Could he come in and have a great season? Sure, but I’d not put money on it, and if he doesn’t, I’m not seeing how the team’s expectations are soaring.

  11. For whatever reason, I initially read this as “Cardinals expectations instantly sour.” That is all.

  12. I am seriously not there. I love JJ. Also think his best years are way behind him. But a DE/EDGE raising expectations on an otherwise mediocre team? Sorry, no.

  13. patsfan4lifedynasty says:
    March 2, 2021 at 8:42 pm
    The Rams should be favored to win the division if the Matt Stafford stays healthy

    You mean the same Stafford with a top 3 Defense in 2014 couldn’t get past the cowgirls in the 1st round of the playoffs? Stafford is a favorite among fantasy football teams

  14. It’s a QB league and Kyler Murray is entering year three. Josh Allen just completed year three, and many were calling him a bust just a few months ago. QB’s usually start to put it all together after 2 or 3 seasons, depending on their supporting cast. Murray still has a long way to go, but he has some skills nobody else has. The problem is those skills lead to injuries, and when your QB goes down, your season usually does too. I’m waiting for Kyler to become an NFL QB. Sometimes the really gifted athletes take a while longer to develop, like Steve Young did, because they’ve always been able to let their feet bail them out. Sometimes an injury is a wake up call. The kid is very exciting, but watching Tom Brady win #7 is a reminder of the skills required of an NFL QB. Most of those skills are above the shoulders, not below the knees. Well, it’s year three, and his supporting cast just got a lot stronger. J.J. Watt is still a monster.

  15. To the guy above who said Murray is easily injured, how many games has he missed in two years? Exactly zero. He did get injured and missed the final game of 2020, and game that Murray would have won and put them in the playoffs, but to say he’s easily injured is laughable.. Two years in, rookie of the year, pro bowl alternate and then pro bowl for Murray. His winning will come, he’s only going to get better.

  16. There’s so many nice people in Arizona… JJ Watt is not the same player he was even 2 years ago. He’s aged and he’s often injured, I think he just took those nice people for 31 million dollars.

  17. J.J. Watt is a great guy,a great team player,and he’s very generous in the community with his time and money,but he’s not the same player he used to be. The Cards have a long way to go before these expectations become realistic. It takes more than the addition of a once great DE to put a real contender together.

  18. What’s the over/under in actual games played? The dude is a walking injury report. I’ll put it at 23.5 games played in 2 seasons

  19. Yeah, they might make it all the way to *second* place in the division this year!

  20. Watt’s best years are behind him. This is a good PR move, not a good football move. This changes their win total by 0.

  21. Watt is a beast – when he’s healthy.

    Unfortunately he’s not been healthy the last couple years.

    You don’t usually get more durable as you age.

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