Behind Enemy Lines: Week 3 Q&A with Cardinals Wire

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With another loss added to their 2021 record, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be hoping to get one in the win column this week. That won’t necessarily be easy with the Arizona Cardinals coming to town as they appear to be far more talented than the Jags’ last two opponents and are playing at an elite level offensively.

However, it wasn’t always clicking like this for Kliff Kingsbury, Kyler Murray, and the crew, and to find out how they got from a 5-10 record two seasons ago to where they are now, we caught up with Cards Wire editor Jess Root this week. Here are five questions he was able to answer on the Jags’ Week 3 opponents:

With you all witnessing the growth of Kliff Kingsbury, what is something you think Urban Meyer could learn from him in terms of making the jump from college to the NFL?

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury instructs his team before playing against the Minnesota Vikings in Glendale, Ariz. Sept. 19, 2021. [Arizona Republic]

CW: The main thing is a college coach has to be willing to adjust and do things differently. Kingsbury's offense in Arizona has looked quite different from what he did at Texas Tech. While he is known for spreading the field and using "10" personnel, he still doesn't do that nearly as much as he did in college. He will line up and use a power running game. It will also matter to be in tune with his players. He is no longer the highest-paid guy in the room and needs to realize it when he interacts with grown men.

After looking over Sunday’s game, the Cardinals’ defense struggled. What do you believe are some of the weaknesses of that unit and are fans concerned about what they saw Week 2?

Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs the ball against the Arizona Cardinals in the second half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

CW: It comes down to the run defense. If James Robinson is not bottled up early or if the offense doesn't give the Cardinals an early lead, it makes it harder for the defense to do what it does best -- rush the passer. That was the main difference between Week 1 and Week 2. Limiting Derrick Henry to eight yards in the first half made the Titans one-dimensional. When Dalvin Cook ran for more than 120 and had success early, Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt couldn't simply get after the passer.

Could you talk about the step that Kyler Murray has taken this season because he's been phenomenal. And also, what are some things defenses have done in the past to at least slow him down?

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws the ball to running back Chase Edmonds (2) against the Minnesota Vikings during the first quarter in Glendale, Ariz. Sept. 19, 2021. [Arizona Republic]

CW: Defenses last year would use a two-high defense to take away the deep ball. It would force them to use the short game and horizontal game. Their receivers are much faster now, so that is dangerous, and Murray is getting better about getting the ball out. His receivers create more separation than in previous years.

Name two under-the-radar Cardinals players to be mindful of on offense and defense.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) scores a touchdown during the third quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn. [The Tennessean]

CW: It would be hard to consider rookie receiver Rondale Moore as under-the-radar after his 114-yard performance in Week 2. I will go with WR Christian Kirk, whose presence on the inside is overlooked by DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green on the outside. Kirk has been fantastic so far. Defensively, linebacker Isaiah Simmons has been all over the field, making tackles, breaking up passes, and doing it from different positions. Also watch for Markus Golden, who will clean up rushing the passer if too much attention is paid to Chandler Jones.

What do you think the final score will be?

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rondale Moore (4) celebrates his touchdown catch and run against the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter in Glendale, Ariz. Sept. 19, 2021. [Arizona Republic]

CM: I fully expect the Cardinals to handle business this weekend. They will get out to an early lead and coast. The passing game will click early and often. Cardinals 31, Jags 20.

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