If you’re an Arizona Cardinals fan, these victory Mondays just keep getting better and better. You can rightfully talk that smack to any opposing fan because guess what? This team is legit and still remains the only undefeated team in the league after six games.
While the Cleveland Browns had absences from their starting running back Nick Chubb, offensive tackles Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills and wide receiver Jarvis Landry, the Cardinals had hardships too.
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No head coach Kliff Kingsbury due to COVID-19 as well as All-Pro edge rusher Chandler Jones. Pro-Bowl center Rodney Hudson is on the shelf for at least the next three games. Tight end Maxx Williams is out for the year.
So what had to happen? The players and the rest of the coaching staff had to pick up the pace of their previous five wins. And it all worked out, beating the Cardinals 37-14. Kyler Murray had a 129.0 passer rating and the defense got after Baker Mayfield a bunch of times, including a J.J. Watt strip sack.
Every Cardinals fan should be on their high horse after Sunday’s performance. However, one NFL insider gave a clue on a certain coordinator that could hurt Arizona down the road.
Insider Gives Update on Key Coordinator
Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph called a great game as an acting head coach against the Browns, holding them to less than 300 yards on offense.
The defense stopped the Browns on fourth-down three times, just one less than the previous week.
According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, this is more than just a win. Joseph will head into an off-season where Rapoport thinks Joseph “figures to get head coach interviews.”
Joseph has been the defensive coordinator for the Cardinals for three seasons and has seen improvement each year. Last season, Chandler Jones was down early in October and the team still maintained their composure on defense. Former Cardinal Haason Reddick racked up 12.5 sacks and even Dennis Gardeck played out of their minds in his system.
This season, Joseph’s defense held Derrick Henry to just 58 yards, the energizing Rams offense to just 20 points and now a Baker Mayfield-led Browns team with two turnovers.
He’s a leader of men and his speech to the team after the win proves that.
“This is part of a story, right? It’s part of a story. Leadership, awesome all week guys. No one wavered, no one blinked,” Joseph preached to his players.
Joseph gave a ton of credit to Kingsbury’s system as well in Albert Breer’s latest piece on October 18.
“It’s unit-based systems in all three phases, so you can plug guys in here and there and not lose your standard, and that’s what good football teams have to do in this league,” Joseph said. “You can’t lose one or two players and then say, ‘O.K., two guys are out, let’s lose the game.’ It can’t work that way. The systems that we’ve built with Coach Kliff, we can plug-and-play players and not lose the standard.”
There’s a reason why Rapoport’s hinting at Joseph’s future since his career obviously didn’t start with the Cardinals.
Arizona Writer Bangs on Table for Joseph
Joseph was the head coach of the Denver Broncos for just two seasons in 2017 and 2018. This was after being the defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins in 2016 and numerous defensive backs coach positions before that.
Unfortunately for Joseph, he was 11-21 in his two seasons with Denver and was fired after his second season. Arizona Republic writer Greg Moore thinks there should be more context to his previous employment.
“Joseph’s quarterbacks were Case Keenum, Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch,” said Moore. “Is there any wonder he won just 11 games in two years?”
The Broncos’ offense kept putting the defense on the field way too long in Joseph’s tenure as Moore explains. Moore speculated what destination could be a fit for Joseph if he were to leave Arizona.
“Joseph should be at the top of the list when jobs start popping open in the next couple of months, including the impending vacancy in Las Vegas after Jon Gruden’s resignation amid an email scandal in which he was caught mocking a Black union president and calling the league’s commissioner a vile gay slur. Joseph is a perfect replacement. He knows the AFC West after being the head coach in Denver for two seasons, after which he was unceremoniously dumped.”
Every Cardinals player goes to war with Vance. Chandler Jones watching the game from home even sees Joseph’s coaching from afar.
No Cardinals fan should have to worry about Joseph at the moment. The defense is playing out of their minds and can only get better when Jones, Zach Allen and Corey Peters return from the Reserve/COVID list.
And if Joseph leaves to find another opportunity, the Cards could weather the storm. But one of Steve Keim’s best decisions as general manager is hiring Joseph. If Keim could give Joseph a lifetime contract, he would.
But this is the real world. For now, every Cardinal member and fan should enjoy this run.