When the Arizona Cardinals were revealed to be this year's in-season Hard Knocks team, it was still before Kyler Murray got his big fat fucking payday and when some people still held out hope the Cardinals could be good. Not that their season is over, but they're on the outside looking in at the playoff picture, which is basically all we could ask for as fans of reality TV.
I feel for Budda Baker here. He has a reputation as one of the better, toughest safeties in the league and clearly cares. What's hilarious about this is RIGHT AFTER Baker goes on his rant, the entire team doesn't break stride whatsoever and starts a collective prayer. I was wondering why it was so damn quiet and why everyone was in a solemn mood. I mean sure the losing does that, but everyone's just trying to get their prayer on, Budda. This doesn't seem like the time and place to go on a profanity-laden tirade! To each his own I guess.
Also I can't help but think about Baker's speech alongside this brief but legendary rant from an infuriated Browns fan:
You love to see Baker stepping up because we all know Kliff Kingsbury has probably damn near lost the entire locker room by this point. From Day 1 it's been obvious Kyler isn't the leader of men most elite quarterbacks are. I know you can lean on other veteran players to fill that role, yet Kyler is such a spoiled-acting malcontent that I can't imagine at least half the players aren't thinking to themselves, "What the fuck is it with this guy?"
GM Steve Keim and Kingsbury are extended through 2027 as of this offseason. Kyler got his big-boy contract. And ahead of tonight's HBO Hard Knocks premiere, the Cardinals are 3-6, in 13th place in the NFC and have lost nine of their last 13 home games, including a 1-4 mark in Arizona this year. Hence Baker complaining about not being able to protect their own turf.
DeAndre Hopkins' return from a six-game suspension and what was going on behind the scenes through all that are elements to the show I'm very intrigued to see unfold. I'm also jazzed to see what the hell the Kyler-Kliff dynamic is really like. Or maybe the standoffish Kyler is barely featured at all. That'd probably be the worst look of all given his stature in the organization.
Even with such a monster extension in tow, Kingsbury seems like one of the favorites to be the next head coach fired. I'm kind of a sicko who's been quietly rooting for a Cardinals collapse. Based on how things are unfolding in 2022, I think we're on the precipice of some of the best Hard Knocks content ever.