Howard Balzer on Cardinals Tempering Expectations
AllCardinals publisher Howard Balzer joined SI.com's Madelyn Burke to discuss how the Arizona Cardinals are managing the elevated expectations on them since acquiring DeAndre Hopkins, arguably one of the best wide receivers in the league, among other new additions. The hype surrounding the Cardinals has grown exponentially and their players are mediating them and working on a defense that lacked in the 2019 season.
The full transcript is below. You can access our full story here.
Burke: The Arizona Cardinals had a splashy offseason headlined by the trade for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. But despite the overwhelming hype surrounding the squad, the Cards are doing their best to temper expectations. Joining me now is Howard Balzer of SI's AllCardinals and Howard, acquiring arguably the league's best wide receiver is a big move for this Cardinals team, yet how is this team navigating these expectations?
Balzer: Well, the big thing is they're saying all the right things and they all have a lot of confidence so that this can be a good year for them. But they always then say, "The sky's the limit." But then they say, "But, of course, that's only on paper." They're concentrating on the things they have to do to come together as a team because of the confidence they have. One of the biggest aspects, as you mentioned Hopkins, of it is the improvements on defense because that's where this team had some struggles. Last year, they were better towards the end of the season and everyone believes that they can pick up where they left off and have the makings of a well-balanced team this season.
Burke: And balance, obviously, the key. I mean, we've seen in the past and in recent history, even with the Browns, with the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. and the hype that that team struggled to live up to. How key are some of these other moves outside of this DeAndre Hopkins trade?
Balzer: Well, a lot of moves are very strong: of course, they got Kenyan Drake re-signed on the transition tag and on defense, the moves that they made with Jordan Phillips and De'Vondre Campbell and Devon Kennard and then drafting Isaiah Simmons. One real key that is overlooked a little bit is that Robert Alford, who was supposed to be a starting cornerback last year, missed the entire season with an injury and Patrick Peterson missed the first six games because of a league suspension. So, they get those players back to go with everything else. Plus, being in the second year of Vance Joseph's system and that's where a lot of the confidence is building from on this team. As I mentioned, it's with that defense.
Burke: "Defense wins championships" is the old adage, Howard Balzer, thank you so much for the insight.