When the news came – unexpectedly – Friday that the Cardinals were releasing Terrell Suggs, one of my first thoughts was back to when he first signed in March when Suggs was asked how much he still had left in his age-37 season.
"Let’s see how much (I’ve) got left," he responded. No boasting. No grand pronouncements of what he would do. He seemed to wonder as much as anyone else. And while he did have the 5½ sacks that are second on the team and had the second-most pressures on the team after Chandler Jones, Suggs also hasn't produced much the last few games, other than Sunday's fumble recovery. He's had one tackle the last two games, and one-half sack in the past six. His practice time, thanks to injuries and his normal Fridays off, dwindled. He also was on a team that was struggling, something Suggs had rarely dealt with in his career.
When Kliff Kingsbury said cutting Suggs was a mutual decision, you could see why that would be the case (and it'll be interesting what team claims him on waivers, and if he could end up back in Baltimore.)
It's been a weird season in the case of in-season veterans being cut. The reasons aren't necessarily in line with each situation, but once the regular season began, the Cardinals have released safety D.J. Swearinger, wide receiver Michael Crabtree, cornerback Tramaine Brock and now Suggs. As Kingsbury maneuvers through this first season, it feels like he and the Cardinals are getting a sense of how the coach might want the roster shaped in 2020 – or at least getting a jump on roster-shaping, given that all four players were on the final year of their deal.
-- Back to Sunday's game, which will be the home finale for the year. Seems like just yesterday the Cardinals opened the season with 2½ quarters of ugly before a thrilling rally and near-win in overtime against the Lions at State Farm Stadium to open the season (Alas, if Brock had just held on to the ball.)
-- No it doesn't seem like yesterday. It's been a long season.
-- Still, there is a level of excitement, even with two teams not living up to expectations, with the Kyler Murray-Baker Mayfield meeting. Here's the big question: Both guys have had some issues this season trying to do too much – Mayfield for a chunk of the year, Murray more of late – and you have to wonder how easily that can be corrected in this situation. I mean, both guys admitted how much they'd like to top their buddy. That could just exacerbate things Sunday. To me, whichever quarterback handles it better has the best chance to actually get that win.
-- There is also something to be said about who runs the ball better, however. The Browns, with defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, are 26th in the league in rush defense. The Cardinals are 24th. The Browns have NFL-leading rusher Nick Chubb plus Kareem Hunt. The Cards still are trying to get the Kenyan Drake-David Johnson duo going in tandem.
-- Odell Beckham came into the NFL in 2014 and the two times when he was with the Giants made for epic matchups with his friend and fellow LSU product Patrick Peterson – or at least, they should have and never did. Because Beckham still has yet to play against the Cardinals, which should change Sunday.
Back in 2014, Beckham was injured in the Drew Stanton-last-second-starter-for-Carson-Palmer game, a 25-14 Cardinals win in New York. In 2017, the year Beckham missed almost the whole season, the Giants visited late in the year and were beaten up, 23-0, in what was Bruce Arians' final home game as coach. Now we'll see some Beckham-Peterson, although neither player is playing like we're used to, with Beckham playing through a groin issue (and maybe not the best fit in the offense) and Peterson struggling some of the time as well.
-- There is a toy drive at Sunday's game. Volunteers and Cardinals cheerleaders will collect new unwrapped toys and monetary donations outside of each stadium entrance, benefitting Helping Hands of Freedom and the Firefighter Angel Foundation of Prescott.
-- Peterson on Larry Fitzgerald's plans for 2020: "If I had to take a wild guess, I'd say he's coming back." I tend to agree with Patrick, as we go into this game. Yes, maybe it could be Fitz’s last home game, but I just feel like he loves playing too much right now. He will take his time and think it through after the season – I don't think he's made any decisions, even to himself. But it just feels like to me, at some point, he and Michael Bidwill will have their annual chat, and there will be an announcement that he signed another one-year deal.
See you Sunday.