Cardinals president open to 'Hard Knocks' in 2020, and here's why Arizona makes the most sense
The cameras would love the Cardinals this upcoming year
When it comes to HBO's yearly NFL documentary series "Hard Knocks," only five teams are in the running to host the large camera crew during training camp this year: the Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers. And one of those teams in particular sounds open to the idea of appearing on the show.
During an interview on Arizona Sports' 98.7 FM's Doug & Wolf Show Wednesday, Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said that he wouldn't be opposed to his team appearing on "Hard Knocks" this offseason.
"We're always going to listen to everything," Bidwill said, via the Arizona Republic. "We'll see what comes up. ... I think we've done a good job of being available and volunteering to do things, like 'All or Nothing.' So we'll see where we end up."
Last year's "Hard Knocks" journey with the Raiders was pretty interesting, as we got an exclusive look at Jon Gruden's coaching style and Antonio Brown's frozen feet. As for "Hard Knocks" in 2020, those five teams mentioned above are eligible because they don't break any of the three rules which eliminates teams during the selection process:
1. They have a first-year head coach in place.
2. They have a playoff berth in the past two seasons.
3. They have appeared on "Hard Knocks" in the past 10 years.
believes any one of the five eligible teams would make for a great season of "Hard Knocks," but to me there's an easy favorite, and that's the Cardinals.
Last offseason, seemingly the entire NFL went all in on hiring prospective offensive geniuses, including the Cardinals. They tabbed Kingsbury as their next head coach despite his losing record in six seasons at Texas Tech. He had worked with some of the best collegiate quarterbacks over the last few years, including Case Keenum, Johnny Manziel, Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes. Kingsbury was seen as someone who could help take Josh Rosen -- check that, Kyler Murray -- to the next level.
The jury is still out on the Kingsbury hire, but the Cardinals did improve in his first season. Arizona went from 3-13 to 5-10-1 in 2019, and despite being known for the Air Raid, Kingsbury engineered a top-10 rushing offense. There's no doubt he has potential as a head coach, and it will be interesting to get a behind-the-scenes look at him work.
We could be looking at the next NFL star in Murray. The Cardinals ditched their first-round pick from the previous year in order to take the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner at No. 1 overall, and it appeared to be the right decision. He completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 3,722 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his first season, and took home the. He also added 544 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. This will be Murray's first offseason as the unquestioned leader on this team, and it would be fascinating to see him work.
An interesting offseason lies ahead for Johnson. He rushed for just 345 yards and two touchdowns on 94 carries in 2019, and added 370 yards and four touchdowns through the air. He took a backseat to midseason trade acquisition Kenyan Drake as the year progressed, and his future with the Cardinals is unclear. Johnson signed a lucrative three-year extension before the 2018 season, and his dead cap hit is $16.2 million. That means it's likely that he will be a Cardinal in 2020, but how will Kingsbury use him this upcoming season? It's a training camp storyline I'm certainly interested in.
The 29-year-old pass-rusher recorded a career-high 19 sacks in 2019, which was good for second in the league. Whether people realize it or not, Jones is one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL, and has recorded double-digit sacks over each of his past five seasons. It's going to be hard to forget his performance against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16, when he sacked Russell Wilson a total of four times. He's an entertaining character that the cameras would enjoy, and is also the brother of UFC champion Jon Jones. Maybe he would make a guest appearance during an episode?
Whether Larry Fitzgerald decides to retire or return, it will be interesting to watch this wide receiving corps. It would be fun to see the future Pro Football Hall of Famer enter training camp for possibly the final time or to see how the other receivers step up without him. They have some enticing young guns out wide I'd be interested in watching develop, such as Hakeem Butler and Andy Isabella. With Kingsbury being an offensive-minded head coach, you know there's probably another name that he will add this offseason, whether rookie or veteran. The Cardinals want their receivers to be one of the most versatile and explosive units in the league, and Kingsbury has big plans for them.
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