Football, meaningful professional football that is, is back, and with week one concluding offseason narrative killing has just begun. Countless narratives and presumptions were droned over and repeated by media pundits since the end of the last regular season. “Insert team name here” is soft, “insert coach here” is on the hot seat and can’t handle the big stage, “so and so” isn’t past his prime and still has gas left in the tank has been said way too many times to count. All of it is frankly just words until we see it come to fruition when the bullets start flying. Personally, I’d love to dismantle my most hated offseason narrative.
“The Cardinals are soft”
The slander for a solid and young Cardinals team was one of the odder narratives of the offseason. Sure does the team have some warts that could be cause for concern but that’s true for literally every team not named the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cardinals were dubbed a soft team who wouldn’t be able to match up with teams upfront with physical teams because of their college-like playstyle and their young coach in Kliff Kingsbury. Offseason additions JJ Watt and first-round rookie Zaven Collins were said to not be enough to transform their defense that had been lackluster for most of last season. How were so many completely wrong? The Cardinals ended week one with a 38-13 dismantling of the most physical teams in the league last year in the Tennessee Titans. From the jump, Arizona just dominated the Titans upfront, holding them under 100 yards rushing and having a combined six sacks. Then again five of those sacks were by pass rusher Chandler Jones who put on a historic performance. With such a dominating win over a perceived playoff contender, Arizona has definitely taken its first step to killing their bad narratives.
Another issue, and another week of college football, that means another prospect highlight. Enter Aidan Hutchinson. Michigan defensive lineman Hutchinson had a quiet season last year due to injury and left the public spotlight due to no fault of his own. Expectedly, that put quite a chip on his shoulder and he let it be known that he deserves to be mentioned with the best when he lined up against highly-touted Washington offensive tackle Jaxon Kirkland and made him look like a peewee football player in Michigan’s 31-10 win. He logged multiple sacks while showcasing rare athleticism and power that always entices NFL teams at the top of the draft. If he continues at this trajectory expect to hear about Hutchinson endlessly come draft time.