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Is Cardinals LB Evan Weaver Ready for a Breakout 2020?

As the Cards get set for what should be an odd 2020 season, there’s one player on their roster that could be due for a big season, that being linebacker Evan Weaver. today has a piece out with breakout stars from around the NFL, and Weaver is right at the top of the list.

Here’s what Michael Silver had to say about the linebacker:

I’m definitely going to get laughed at by my esteemed colleagues who graduated from Michigan (Jeff) and Miami (Judy) — and probably even by the proud Howard grad (Jim), too — but my rookie to watch is Arizona Cardinals linebacker Evan Weaver, a sixth-round pick out of … the University of California.

Yes, I’m biased. And yes, I know Weaver isn’t slated to be a starter, or even considered a lock to make the 53-man roster.

That said, I watched this guy evolve from a low-rated recruit playing backup defensive end for an atrocious unit to a game-changing, All-American inside linebacker for an outstanding defense — and the transition was not subtle.

At Cal, Weaver was a tackling machine who was constantly around the ball, came up huge in pivotal moments and never stopped letting his opponents know, even in post-game interviews. He looks like Mr. Incredible (from the 2004 animated Pixar flick) and plays every down like an unheralded and overlooked maniac trying desperately to get people’s attention.

I’m predicting that somehow, some way, Weaver will do just that. It may be primarily on special teams, or it may be as a fill-in, or he may simply will his way onto the field. I know the NFL is a whole different level than the Pac-12, and I know the odds aren’t stacked in his favor.

Patrick Peterson Says the Current Cardinals Team is the Best He’s Seen on Paper

A half-decade ago, Patrick Peterson’s Cardinals were one game from the Super Bowl.

Despite this fact, Peterson believes his current team — one that finished 5-10-1 in 2019 and picked in the top 10 of the 2020 NFL Draft — is the best he’s ever been a part of, at least in terms of projections, Nick Shook of reports.

“This is probably the best football team I’ve been a part of on paper,” Peterson said on The Hyperice Lab podcast. “What we’ve been able to add to the team this year, what the front office has been able to accomplish this offseason (without) being able to see guys and not being able to be around, it’s been second to none. I mean, unbelievable.”

Peterson has legitimate reasons to be excited. Quarterback Kyler Murray proved to be worth the No. 1 overall pick in his first NFL season, winning Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Cardinals general manager Steve Keim brought in three-time All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins without giving up much of anything. Add in hyper-athlete Isaiah Simmons as the team’s first-round pick, and you’ve got a healthy amount of positive momentum building into the new decade.

Kliff Kingsbury’s arrival, the team’s selection of Murray and a rapid accumulation of talent capped by the Hopkins trade has shifted Peterson’s outlook dramatically. It’ll be a tough go in a loaded NFC West, featuring the reigning conference champions, but the veteran is ready to make a run.

“It’s going to come down to us to manage the locker room, manage the egos and make sure everybody is on the same page and understand that we have to commit to one another, believe in one another and trust one another,” Peterson said. “If we do those three things, we can be in Tampa (for the Super Bowl) ready to face whoever, and ready to hopefully bring that Lombardi trophy, the first Lombardi trophy, home to Arizona.”

Cardinals 2020 Schedule Released; Opener at San Francisco September 13

The Cardinals 2020 slate is out, and the team will open the season against the NFC Champion 49ers on the road in a tough week one matchup.

The team will play their home opener in week two against the Redskins. Here’s the complete slate for the Cards.

Sep. 13 at San Francisco 1:25 PM

Sep. 20 WASHINGTON 1:05 PM

Sep. 27 DETROIT 1:25 PM

Oct. 4 at Carolina 10:00 AM

Oct. 11 at New York Jets 10:00 AM

Oct. 19 at Dallas Cowboys (Mon.) 5:15 PM

Oct. 25 SEATTLE 1:05 PM

Nov. 1 BYE

Nov. 8 MIAMI 2:25 PM

Nov. 15 BUFFALO 2:05 PM

Nov. 19 at Seattle (Thurs.) 6:20 PM

Nov. 29 at New England 11:00 AM


Dec. 13 at New York Giants 11:00 AM



Jan. 3 at Los Angeles Rams 2:25

An Educated Guess at What the 2020 Cardinals Schedule Could Look Like

The 2020 Arizona Cardinals schedule will be released in a televised event on Thursday night, and while we already know who the Cards will go up against and where, we don’t know in what order, or what may or may not be on prime time.

Here are the teams the Cards will play:

Home: Seahawks, Rams, 49ers, Redskins, Eagles, Bills, Dolphins, Lions
Away: Seahawks, Rams, 49ers, Cowboys, Giants, Jets, Patriots, Panthers

Today we give a reminder of the teams that we will see the Cardinals in the 2020 season, and we give our guess in what order we will see them in.

(A quick sidebar – we are moving forward with this schedule as if the season will start and play out on time, with no issues due to the covid-19 pandemic).

Sunday 9/13 Week One at Los Angeles Rams
Sunday 9/20 Week Two at Dallas
Sunday 9/27 Week Three vs Buffalo
Thursday 10/01 Week Four at New England (Thursday Night Football)
Sunday 10/11 Week Five vs Miami
Sunday 10/18 Week Six vs Detroit
Sunday 10/25 Week Seven BYE WEEK
Sunday 11/01 Week Eight at NY Giants
Sunday 11/08 Week Nine at Seattle
Monday 11/16 Week Ten vs San Francisco (Monday Night Football)
Sunday 11/22 Week Eleven vs Seattle
Sunday 11/30 Week Twelve at NY Jets
Sunday 12/06 Week Thirteen vs Los Angeles Rams
Sunday 12/13 Week Fourteen vs Washington
Sunday 12/20 Week Fifteen at Carolina
Sunday 12/27 Week Sixteen vs Philadelphia
Sunday 01/03 Week Seventeen at San Francisco

Cardinals Go D in Round One of the NFL Draft, Snag Clemson OLB Isaiah Simmons

The Cards went defense in round one of the NFL Draft, as the team took Clemson outside linebacker Isaiah Simmons in the first round with the 8th pick in the NFL Draft.

Joe Weinfuss of ESPN wrote about why the Cards went the route of Simmons in the first round:

This was about as much of a no-brainer as there’ll be in this year’s draft. Simmons is widely considered the best defensive prospect in the draft and he fell to the Cardinals for no other reason than other teams had needs elsewhere, most of which were on offense. He’s the ideal complement for pass-rusher Chandler Jones and helps the Cardinals take a major step in their defensive rebuild.

CBS Sports asks if Simmons is physical enough for the NFL:

Cardinals Deal RB David Johnson to the Houston Texans, Nab WR DeAndre Hopkins in Return

Just a few years back David Johnson was at the very top as one of, if not the very best running back in the NFL.

Now, he will wake up on Tuesday as a former Cardinal.

The 28-year-old from Memphis, TV was dealt to the Houston Texans on Monday according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

The Cardinals in return for Johnson get stud wide out DeAndre Hopkins and a fourth-round pick for Johnson and a second-round pick in 2020 and a fourth-round pick in 2021.

The Texans will take all of Johnson’s salary which includes a $14.156 million cap hit in 2020 and a $14 million cap hit in 2021.

Johnson’s breakout season came in 2016 when he rushed for 1239 yards and 16 touchdowns, averaging 4.2 yards per carry average.

The running back was a third-round selection (86th overall) in the 2015 NFL Draft out of Northern Iowa.

In five seasons Johnson has put up some gaudy numbers for the Cards, playing in 62 games rushing for 3,128 yards and 33 touchdowns.

Johnson also can make plays in the passing game, as he caught 208 passes for 2,219 yards and 15 touchdowns.

The former Northern Iowa back is heading into the second year of the three-year, $39 million extension he signed with the Cardinals.

Hopkins brings a huge passing game threat to the Cardinals, as in his career, all with Houston, he has caught 1,048 passes for 8,602 yards and 54 total touchdowns.

What’s the Status of the Cardinals Receiving Core as Free Agency Closes In? has a new article out discussing how things look to be shaping up with free agency ready to start very soon, and how teams wide receiver cores are looking going into the process.

The Cardinals have a chance to make an impact in that department, hopefully to get a new weapon for Kyler Murray.

You can read the entire article HERE – for now here’s what the piece says about the Cardinals receiver situation.

Arizona Cardinals

Top three WRs in 2019: Larry Fitzgerald (75 catches, 804 yards, 4 TDs), Christian Kirk (68-709-3), Damiere Byrd (36-370-4 — UFA).

Last season, Cardinals receivers averaged just 8.9 air yards per target, the lowest rate in the NFL, per Next Gen Stats. This was due in part to scheme and in part to poor offensive line play, but it’s fair to assume that in his second NFL season, quarterback Kyler Murray would benefit from an additional big target with high yards-after-the-catch aptitude, especially with last year’s leading receiver, Fitzgerald, turning 37 in August … and it wouldn’t hurt to have scheme familiarity (for my thoughts on what my models project Arizona should do with the eighth overall pick, check out my analytics-based mock draft.

Who Would the Cardinals Use the Franchise Tag on If Needed in 2020?

USA Today has released an interesting article regarding the ever unpopular (at least for players) ‘Franchise tag’ and how team’s may use it in 2020.

It seems like every team has an option to use the franchise tag, which stops a player from even negotiating with outside teams and forces them to stay put.

To see the entire list of all 32 teams and the players that might be franchised, click HERE.

Here’s what the article has to say about the Cardinals, who they say may franchise running back Kenyan Drake.

They’re in the bottom half of the league in terms of available cap dollars. They also got quite an eight-game audition from RB Kenyan Drake after trading for him last October. Letting the transition tag set his market might be sensible.

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