The Cardinals made a big splash in 2020 when they traded for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, but they finished out of playoff position after losing five of their final seven games.
More big names came aboard this offseason. Defensive end J.J. Watt, wide receiver A.J. Green, cornerback Malcolm Butler, center Rodney Hudson, and running back James Conner have all joined the team since the end of their 8-8 campaign and those moves have led many people to raise the expectations for head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s third season in Arizona.
Wide receiver Christian Kirk thinks those thoughts exist inside the team’s roster as well.
“I think it’s now or never for us,” Kirk said on NFL Network Wednesday. “That’s the attitude in the locker room. We finally feel like we have all the pieces to put it together and really make a push for the playoffs and for a championship. I know guys in the locker aren’t expecting anything less than that. We know what opportunity we have at hand, and then we know we have to be better. . . . Since coach Kingsbury’s been there, we have gotten better every year. Now it’s the year where we’ve got a young group of core guys that have been through a lot, all the ups and downs. We know the opportunity is here, and we have to rise to the occasion, and we have the right guys and the right leadership to do it.”
The Cardinals won three more games in 2020 than they did in Kingsbury’s first season. A similar jump would do a lot to convince people that the Cardinals have the right people pulling the strings.