5 Cardinals seeking bounce-back season in 2022

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The Arizona Cardinals enter 2022 expecting to have a better ending than they did last season. They won 11 games and went to the playoffs for the first time since 2015 but faded down the stretch and were blown out of the first round of the playoffs.

They need to bounce back from the end of their last season.

To do that, they will need some players to bounce back from seasons they probably wish they could have back.

Below are some Cardinals players who will have the chance to bounce back and be better in 2022.

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OL Will Hernandez

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Hernandez was one of the more highly touted guards of the 2018 NFL draft when he was selected in the second round by the New York Giants.

He had a solid rookie season but has not been as good since then. Many consider his 2021 season to be bad. Reunited with former college head coach Sean Kugler, who is the Cardinals’ offensive line coach and run-game coordinator, he is expected to be the starting right guard and he hopes to bounce back and show just how good he can be.

DE J.J. Watt

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Watt didn’t have a bad season in 2021. He just missed half of it. Statistically, he didn’t do much in the seven games he played. However, he definitely impacted how good the defense was.

In 2022, he hopes to play an entire season and also to be more dominant. With Chandler Jones having left in free agency, the Cardinals need more sacks and tackles for loss from Watt.

OLB Devon Kennard

(AP Photo/Wade Payne)

His two seasons in Arizona after signing a three-year, $20 million contract have been nothing short of disappointing. Injuries and COVID-19 derailed his 2020 season. He was stuck deep in the depth chart after Markus Golden was acquired and then re-signed.

Now, after redoing his contract to come back for a third season, Kennard is slated to start at outside linebacker opposite Golden, at least in base defenses.

He had seven sacks in 2018 and 2019. It would be great to be a consistent contributor and to be more than just a bit player in the defensive rotation. With rookies Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders waiting in the wings, he will need to make an impact quickly.

OLB Dennis Gardeck

Gardeck had seven sacks in only 93 defensive snaps in 2020 before tearing his ACL. In his return last season, he did not have a sack. He re-signed with the team on a three-year deal.

While he is a great special teams player, he seeks to show his seven-sack season was not just a fluke.

ILB Zaven Collins

(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

Declared the starter on draft night, he went from having a prominent role on defense to getting replaced by Tanner Vallejo and getting little playing time late in the season.

He now is expected to be the starting “mike” linebacker, replacing Jordan Hicks. He needs to bounce back and be solid.

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