Weekly High 5: Cardinals Learn an Important Lesson

Matthew JohnsonAugust 25, 2020
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My apologies for getting this column out a day late. Wisdom teeth extraction and subsequent pain takes its toll on a guy. With that said, let’s try to make sense of the Phoenix sports landscape this week.

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? The Arizona Cardinals appear to be adapting to early season adversity this year, perhaps learning from their mistakes 12 months ago – and that tops our look at the big takeaways from the weekend in sports. 

Keim loads up on cornerbacks.

When the Cardinals lost starting cornerback Robert Alford last August to a broken leg in training camp, there were no major corresponding moves to replace him. The Cardinals defense suffered greatly, finishing dead last in the NFL in yards allowed per game and opponent quarterback rating. The Cards defense made guys like Kyle Allen and Jared Goff look like Joe Montana, and it was the major reason why the team only won five games in 2019. After Alford’s season-ending injury this past week, general manager Steve Keim went on a cornerback shopping spree, acquiring B.W. Webb, Ken Crawley and Dre Kirkpatrick to compete for the starting job.

Big takeaway: Lesson learned! Keim has made a real effort to overhaul the worst defense in the league by drafting wisely and signing free agents to upgrade nearly every key position.

Kenyan Drake has us holding our breath.

Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake was reportedly seen in a walking boot at practice on Monday, a worrisome sight for any member of the Red Sea. As the news spread and subsequent fear set in on Twitter, Drake responded saying he was in a walking boot at this time last year, adding he was looking for consistency.

Big takeaway: Phew! Deep breath. Exhale. Repeat. Athletes usually aren’t quick to post their injury status on social media, so it’s probably safe to assume the best for Drake. If he’s able to stay consistent like he was in 2019, he’s due for a big year.

Diamondbacks play some bad baseball.

One moment they’re the hottest team in baseball. The next, they forgot how to hit –  again. The Arizona Diamondbacks saw a six-game winning streak come to an end and followed it with a current six-game losing streak. The offense scored only eight runs over the six-game skid, which the team looks to put a halt to Tuesday night at Chase Field against the Colorado Rockies.

Big takeaway: It’s unwatchable baseball right now. The team cannot afford to get shut down by the likes of Giants pitchers Trevor Cahill and Tyler Anderson. With the season now past the halfway point, any extended losing streak is going to be the nail in the coffin for the 2020 season.

Some Suns fans want to argue about things they can’t change.

Whenever Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic does something, it’s sure to elicit a reaction from Phoenix Suns fans. The Suns decided to draft Deandre Ayton No. 1 overall in 2018, when a small vocal handful of basketball pundits thought they should take Doncic with the pick. Two years later, Doncic is an MVP-caliber superstar who drained a game-winning three-pointer to beat the L.A. Clippers in overtime on Sunday in Game 4 of their first round playoff series. Suns fans went nuts on Twitter, again lamenting the Ayton decision, perhaps in an effort to feel better.

Big takeaway: No amount of draft regret will do anyone any good. There were plenty of people arguing for Ayton, a few calling for Doncic, and even some (including this author) who wanted the Suns to take Trae Young. Digging up old arguments that won’t change an outcome doesn’t serve a purpose. Learn to appreciate Luka for his brilliance and hope Deandre lives up to his full potential.

ASU lands the nation’s top center.

Monday morning arrived with gifts for Sun Devil football fans. Ezra Dotson-Oyetade, an offensive lineman from Texas, became ASU’s 20th commit of the 2021 recruiting class. 247Sports recruiting service ranks him as the No. 1 center in the country for the ’21 class.

Big takeaway: Herm Edwards continues to do things right in Tempe by recruiting top ranked players at key positions. Man, I’m going to miss college football so bad this year.


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