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The Numbers That Show The Cardinals' Progress

Gannon has fielded a top-10 team when it comes to top metric

The Cardinals are 1-2, but Jonathan Gannon likes to talk about the process. And the process, measured by analytics, has been working.

The long-standing metric DVOA -- which stands for Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, or a team's success based on the down-and-distance of each play compared to the NFL average -- has the Cardinals 10th in the NFL after three weeks. The nine teams above them? In order, it's the Bills, Dolphins, 49ers, Browns, Eagles, Chiefs, Cowboys, Ravens and Lions. Every one of those teams is either 3-0 or 2-1.

Some of this is about the eye test; the Cardinals should've beaten the Giants and easily could've beaten the Commanders. But the numbers show the Cardinals aren't just doing it with mirrors but solid football.

The Cardinals have won the turnover battle in each of their three games. Their 469 rushing yards are the most a Cardinals team has had through the first three weeks of the season since the Cards' first year in Arizona, back in 1988, when they had 478 (and probably would've made the playoffs if quarterback Neil Lomax hadn't gotten hurt.)

Joshua Dobbs hasn't thrown an interception either.

Explosive plays? Those are defined by pass plays of at least 20 yards and run plays of at least 15. (Punt returns of at least 15 count too.) The Cardinals had eight against Dallas (vs. four) and eight against the Giants (vs. 5.)

"It feels good to win a game, but what I'm looking for on a daily basis is -- are we doing enough in all three phases to put ourselves in position to win the game," Gannon said. "You evaluate that first and then you tell the players about that. You bring it to their attention that this has to improve, this has to get a little bit better, and this has been good, but it has to stay there or even elevate it a little bit

"You hope that everybody in the building is just trying to improve their game every day and then when you put all that together then hopefully your team plays better."

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Victor Dimukeje (52) during the Week 3 regular season game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Sep 24, 2023 in Glendale, AZ.