Zach Pascal met Mike Hill when he first got to the Indianapolis Colts, and Hill gave Pascal a pair of socks.
The socks had a message – "Dawg" – which was what Hill built his clothing line around. Dawg culture can mean different things to different people said Pascal, the Cardinals wide receiver, but he wanted to bring it into the locker room. He has passed out "Dawg" gear to all the players and coaches and football staff, something he did in Philadelphia last season. He still has a giant box of hoodies right by his locker for anyone who needs one.
"For me dawg culture is a mentality, facing adversity no matter what in life, whatever pops up, handling it face up," Pascal said. "Don't cry about it and it will make you better."
Hill is the embodiment of that. Pascal said his friend has beaten back cancer a couple of times. At one point Hill was told he would never be able to have children, and he now has two, Pascal added. "Beat that adversity, bro."
A hoodie isn't going to win a game for the Cardinals. Pascal knows that. But his teammates have embraced the look – many wear the hoodies under their practice uniforms – and the veteran wide receiver just wants to do his part with changing the culture.
"It shows that you can change someone's mood," Pascal said. "You can change someone's life just having a piece of clothing and explaining the mentality behind the clothing."
-- A lot has been said about the Cardinals' upcoming gauntlet of a schedule – after the Giants, the Cardinals host the Cowboys, play at the 49ers, and then host the Bengals – and so yes, this game is important. The Giants have their flaws, like the Cardinals. There has been a lot said about Joshua Dobbs and the offense. Dobbs isn't Patrick Mahomes. But (despite what the Eagles did Thursday night) it is difficult to win in the NFL if you can't pass the ball consistently. That's what I am watching for Sunday, even more than how many times James Conner runs the ball.
-- Safety Budda Baker popped up on the injury report Friday after apparently tweaking his hamstring and is officially questionable, although I am betting we see Baker play on Sunday. (Not really betting – I'm not allowed. But you get my meaning.)
-- Defensive lineman L.J. Collier is out this week with a biceps injury. It will be interesting to see how serious the injury is; Collier had a good preseason and is an important part of the defensive line rotation. Would seem probable that rookie Dante Stills will be active for the first time Sunday.
-- The Cardinals will wear their normal red-on-red uniforms for the game.
-- Zach Ertz is healthy again. "He looks like the guy of old to me," coach Jonathan Gannon said. He was targeted 10 times against the Commanders, and while more balance in targets might be coming, a matchup to watch would be Ertz against former Cardinal Isaiah Simmons, who early on has a role of edge rusher or tight end cover man for the Giants.
-- The Cardinals have started 0-2 just once in the previous 17 seasons – that was the Sam Bradford (Josh Rosen)-Steve Wilks 2018 team.
-- The outside linebackers all got work in Washington to great success – Dennis Gardeck leading the way with two sacks, Victor Dimukeje adding one and Zaven Collins coming up with a fumble recovery and an interception. Jesse Luketa, when he isn't playing fullback. Even BJ Ojulari, who is still working into the mix, got 18 snaps. And that doesn't even include the injured Myjai Sanders.
Will that OLB rotation remain that deep? "The thing I love about JG and Nick (Rallis) is that every week is new, every week is 'What is the best thing for the team?'" outside linebackers coach Rob Rodriguez said. "This week might be different. This week you might see guys at different positions.
"Styles make fights. … (but) we will continue to try and keep fresh legs out there. That's the nature of our front seven. I've been in places where we wear those dudes out. We get to December, those are the same guys."
-- New patches are coming to the Cardinals' practice jerseys. They will represent Bell Bank, with which the organization has entered into a long-term agreement.
-- The Cardinals have played well against the Giants. They've beaten them four straight times, and the last time the Cards got a shutout, it was at home against the Giants back in 2017. (Robert Nkemdiche scored a touchdown, so, yeah, it's been a minute).
See you Sunday.