So ... there's a game Sunday, huh?
Sometimes this week, it was hard to remember that. The game against the Broncos seems like a lifetime ago, with a change in offensive coordinator (and all which comes with that going forward) and then Patrick Peterson's trade request and subsequent resolution. The fact the Cardinals have already played the 49ers once -- and that neither team is playing as it had hoped -- impacts things too.
But yes, there is a game.
It feels pretty important for the Cardinals, even with a 1-6 record. It's at home. It's coming against a team they have already defeated. There is a bye coming up, and that time off feels a lot different coming off a win compared to a loss. And, of course, there have been those offensive changes, so everyone will be looking in that direction.
There will be much to look at, but will there be anything more under the microscope than running back David Johnson's use/production? It's one of the few spots where the Cards felt they had a sure thing coming into the season and then it wasn't. Everyone has discussed constantly Johnson's running lanes/snap counts/receiver use/playcalls/missed assignments.
Much of this ties into the offensive line, of course. The offensive line -- in whatever state it might be in at the moment, given the still-questionable status of starting guards Mike Iupati and Justin Pugh -- needs to have some push. You can play around with the pass protections to help out Josh Rosen in terms of numbers or strategy. But for the running game, that place where the offense and Johnson really must start, it comes with the basics of needing some consistent push. It doesn't mean Johnson has to be breaking nine-yard runs every other play. But getting three yards or four yards at least would make a world of difference.
-- I don't think that anything that happened this week is going to really show up in Peterson's game Sunday. That doesn't sound like Patrick to me. But the reality is that everyone will be watching him to see if anything will happen. I'll say this -- the way C.J. Beathard has been known to turn it over, he could conceivably get those two picks he was joking about.
-- Coach Steve Wilks wouldn't get into details about how the defense would set up with safety Tre Boston missing another game. He didn't say if Rudy Ford -- who had a crucial mistake against the Broncos that was chalked up to miscommunication -- would start. Wilks wouldn't close the door on newcomer Eddie Pleasant having a role, but defensive coordinator Al Holcomb said Pleasant was mostly focusing on special teams play this week.
-- Defensive tackle Corey Peters seemed to think his ankle would be fine to play on Sunday after taking Friday off, and Peters is the kind of guy who has proven pretty durable when it comes to the nagging injuries. That's crucial, because the Cardinals will feel it if he cannot go.
-- There is a food drive if you are coming to State Farm Stadium. The Cards are joining Hyundai to collect food for St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance. Volunteers from St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance and Cardinals Cheerleaders will be at collection points outside of all five stadium gates and the Great Lawn. Fans are asked to donate non-perishable food items and/or money.
-- If there is someone who can get Fitz on track this season, it'll be Leftwich.
-- There is a fresh outlook for now on the offense, but the caveats have all been there, from Wilks to Leftwich to Rosen to Fitz. There is no insta-cure. No one is expecting 30 points a game all of of sudden. But there is optimism.
See you Sunday.