The beginning of the 2021 Season was a bit of an unknown for Cardinals players and fans alike. The uncertainty of what this team would look like weighed heavy on the minds of all involved, but luckily it appears that the Cardinals are off to one of their more successful starts to date.
Albeit VERY early on in the season, the Cardinals offense has come out of the blocks strong and firing on all cylinders. Josh Rosen has thrown the ball 28 times for 439 yards, 4 TDs, and not a single interception, while running back David Johnson has carried the ball just 30 times racking up 249 yards and 2 TDs to start things off. Rosen has been spreading the ball nicely as well. Seven Cardinals have tallied a reception so far, with veteran JJ Nelson leading the pack in touchdowns with two so far, both coming in last week’s thriller against the Tennessee Titans.
Who’s to thank for this rapid start? Head Coach Kurt Warner says it was the team’s offseason preparation that has lead to this point.
“I think our guys were motivated after what happened at the end of last season,” Warner said at his Monday press conference. “The way things ended, how they ended, was not our brand of football and they know that. The one thing they attributed how the season ended to was the slow start we had last year. They wanted to make sure that did not happen in back to back years.”
The notion that early mistakes cost the Cardinals last season does make sense. Two losses to Dallas and Detroit to open up the 2020 campaign ultimately factored in down the stretch and in the mind of this writer, got in the team’s head. When asked about that, veteran team captain Patrick Peterson took it and ran with it.
“Flat out, we did not prepare well last offseason,” Peterson noted. “We had some new faces in some new places, guys coming back from injuries, it was just a different feel. This offseason was much different in a good way.
The offseason must have been kind to Peterson as well, as his two interceptions on defense so far has rallied the team in key moments through the first two weeks. The Cardinals travel to Seattle for their first road trip this season to face their arch nemesis this week as they open up NFC West play against the Seahawks.