Another week, another shot for the Bengals to get their first win against a winless team. This time it is the Cardinals, who also have a rookie head coach searching for his first win of his career as well. This seemed like the perfect time to catch up with Seth Cox of Revenge of the Birds. Here are some of his takes on the upcoming game.
Patrick Judis: Have to start with what your impressions of quarterback Kyler Murray. What has he looked like over the first four games?
Seth Cox: A guy who can keep you in games more than I expected for a rookie, but a guy who still makes rookie mistakes. You look at the first four games and the team goes as Kyler does. In the Carolina game, he threw an interception, the team fell behind eight and fell apart.
Kyler has wowed at times with his arm, and with his legs and at the same time he has made errors with both. He has to learn two big things.
First, the athletes are superior and you can’t always win with your legs. Murray has to learn that he’s not going to outrun guys consistently, at times he will, but it won’t happen every time and he has to learn to either throw the ball away or navigate the pocket better.
Second, when he does escape most teams are in a zone and have running lanes closed down, so he needs to just throw the ball away. He’s taken three sacks after making a great move from the pocket and no one getting open downfield and then getting sacked, by either running out of bounds or sliding down or getting caught.
Overall, it has been good, but it will hopefully get better.
PJ: The Cardinals defense doesn’t rank highly among the rest of the NFL. What would you say is their biggest issue, and how much do they miss Patrick Peterson?
SC: How much time do you have? They can’t rush the passer consistently, they struggle in coverage missing their top two corners, they just released their starting safety in D.J. Swearinger and they can’t really stop the run.
Other than that, things are going well.
PJ: A big question coming into the season was whether David Johnson could return to being the same running back we are all use to. Has he been able to flourish in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense?
SC: He looks incredibly slow as a runner, but as a receiver he has been doing a great job and he can still get open consistently. He has 173 rushing yards and 182 receiving yards, if that helps to paint the picture.
A lot of it comes down to the fact that Johnson has been a bit hesitant, he is looking for contact instead of running through it consistently and he has missed open cutback lanes. He needs to run with the same confidence in the running game as he does when he is catching passes.
Sorry to say, I hope this is the week we see that aggressiveness.
PJ: Is there a player that Bengals fans should be aware of for the matchup that doesn’t get enough national hype?
SC: KeeSean Johnson has been one of the more targeted wide receivers on the roster. The sixth round rookie is not the name of Andy Isabella or Hakeem Butler in the draft community but he was the guy who stepped up early.
Jordan Hicks is the leader on defense and while the team has struggled, he leads the NFL in tackles and has been getting better and better each and every week, so we hope it continues this way and moves forward in this game.
Finally, Chase Edmonds. If David Johnson is struggling or even if he is not, the Cardinals have begun to expand the role of the second year runner. He is the quicker and more elusive of the two backs. If he is able to get some burn, this could be a game where he may breakout a bit.
PJ: What is you prediction for the game?
SC: Two bad teams playing for their new head coaches to find their first win. Two teams with turnstyle offensive lines. Two teams missing key players. Anything can happen, so I am going to stay positive at least one more week and say the Cardinals get off the snide and get their first win…
Thanks again to Seth Cox for taking the time out to answer our questions. You can find more of his work, as well as Cardinals’ coverage, over at Revenge of the Birds.