The Final Football-Less Week: Monday Morning Arizona Cardinals Notebook

Notebook on Cardinals news from last week and what to look forward to.
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In two weeks, Cardinals fans can take their seats at State Farm Stadium to watch preseason football for the first time since 2019. The team announced the dates for open practices last week for training camp, the first of which is July 30.

Here are the 12 days on the schedule, wrapping up on Aug. 15, two days after the Cardinals preseason home opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

  1. Friday, July 30: 8:30-10 a.m.
  2. Saturday, July 31 (Back Together Saturday): 1-3 p.m.
  3. Monday, August 2: 1:30-3 p.m.
  4. Tuesday, August 3: 8:45-10:30 a.m.
  5. Wednesday, August 4: 8:45-10:30 a.m.
  6. Thursday, August 5: 8:45-10:30 a.m.
  7. Friday, August 6: 8:45-10:30 a.m.
  8. Saturday, August 7 (Red & White Practice): 1-3:30 p.m.
  9. Monday, August 9: 1:30-3 p.m.
  10. Tuesday, August 10: 8:45-10:30 a.m.
  11. Wednesday, August 11: 8:45-10:30 a.m.
  12. Sunday, August 15: 1:30-3 p.m.

Kyler Murray's Pop-up

The Cardinals quarterback set up a pop-up shop at the Arizona Mills mall on Saturday and Sunday. Several celebrities rolled through including Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk and cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. 

Murray's shop sells attire like shirts, hoodies and beanies with phrases like "Murray Magic" and "Hail Murray" on them, along with his "KM" logo. 

He posted a highlight reel of how Saturday went on Instagram:

Even members of Esports organization FaZe Clan showed up after they and Murray shared a cover on Sports Illustrated. 

Top 10s

ESPN has ben releasing lists of the top-10 players at various position groups. Last week, a couple of Cardinals landed pretty high up.

Jeremy Fowler ranked wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins second in the league, right behind Davante Adams and ahead of Stefon Diggs. This is an uptick from last year when Hopkins was ranked third.

Hopkins showed up in the Valley in 2020 with no preseason and he still broke records. He had the most receptions in a single season by a Cardinal with 115 and led the NFL in first-down catches. All the while, he had one drop.

A general view of the line of scrimmage as Las Vegas Raiders center Rodney Hudson (61) prepares to snap the ball against the Indianapolis Colts at Allegiant Stadium.

A new Cardinal also breached the top 10: center Rodney Hudson. Fowler grouped interior offensive linemen together and put Hudson ninth in the league. Arizona traded a third-round pick for Hudson to upgrade at center to anchor run blocking and protect Murray. Hudson is 32, but was still solid last season.

On Friday, ESPN’s Seth Walder ranked each team by projected pass-block win rate. He placed the Cardinals third in the league, which is where they finished the 2020 season. The case: there’s no hole. They project Arizona’s starters to be (from left to right): D.J. Humphries, Justin Pugh, Rodney Hudson, Justin Murray and Kelvin Beachum. Murray will be challenged in camp by free-agent addition Brian Winters and 2020 rookie Josh Jones.

"To achieve this we used a regression model that considers every projected starter's individual pass block win rate over the past two seasons."

This group is projected to have a 63% pass-blocking win rate, which trails only the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers.

Worst move?

The Athletic evaluated every team's worst offseason move. For the Cardinals, Lindsay Jones wrote that signing wide receiver A.J. Green was Arizona’s most consequential fault.

The justification for the pick is Green’s price and his lack of production since his most recent Pro Bowl season in 2017. Injuries have had a lot to do with that decline. For Green, he enters a golden opportunity. He isn’t the top target on the team and won’t draw the attention that Hopkins will. Green will play with a quarterback unlike any other he has had before in Murray.

Photo: Alex Weiner, Sports Illustrated

The Cardinals needed upgrades and depth at receiver and that’s what Green brings. He signed for one year, so it’s a relatively low-risk addition, albeit his contract was structured to include two voidable years.

A more questionable move to pick from involves letting edge rusher Haason Reddick walk. He signed a one-year “prove-it” deal with the Panthers worth $8 million. The Cardinals brought back Markus Golden and elected not to use the franchise tag on Reddick, but the former first-rounder had a career year in 2020 and did not break the bank on the market.

Ted Ginn Jr.

Former ninth overall pick Ted Ginn Jr. announced his retirement. The wide receiver spent one of his 14 NFL seasons with the Cardinals in 2014, a playoff year for Arizona. 

He caught 14 passes for 190 yards and ran the ball three times. He was more prevalent in the return game, as he was seventh in the league in yards per punt return. He returned a punt for a touchdown in Week 2. 

Count Down

We enter the final full week before training camp is expected to start on Tuesday, July 27.