Our 2023 opponent breakdown series continues with Los Angeles' Week 6 home opponent and Week 12 road opponent, the Arizona Cardinals (Week 6 - Oct. 15, 1:25 p.m. PT on FOX; Week 12 - Nov. 26, 1:05 P.M. PT on FOX, State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.)
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Last season was one of inconsistency for the Cardinals.
A 1-2 start to the season followed with a pattern of a win followed by two losses over the next nine weeks, landing them a 4-8 record by the time they reached their Week 13 bye.
It didn't help that those first 12 weeks saw a rash of injuries, between running back James Conner (rib) missing missing three games, starting offensive linemen Rodney Hudson, Max Garcia and Justin Pugh getting hurt (Pugh later went on Injured Reserve in Week 7, Hudson in Week 10). Meanwhile, star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins missed the first six games of the season due to a suspension.
The bottom completely fell out in Arizona's first game backfrom the bye, as starting quarterback Kyler Murray tore his ACL against the Patriots in an eventual 27-13 loss to New England. The Cardinals lost their final four games of the season, ending it on a seven-game losing streak and clinching the No. 3 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, while also finishing 21st in scoring average, 22nd in total yards per game, and 31st in points allowed per game.
The day after their season finale, the Cardinals fired head coach Kliff Kingsbury and saw general manager Steve Keim step aside - less than a year after both had been extended through the 2027 season.
Arizona hired former Tennessee Titans Director of Player Personnel Monti Ossenfort as its next general manager on Jan. 16. About a month later, Jonathan Gannon, who spent the last two seasons as the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive coordinator, was hired on as their next head coach.
After trading back from No. 3 to No. 12 overall in the NFL Draft, the Cardinals drafted Ohio State offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. with their first selection.
Most notably, and recently, Arizona released Hopkins on May 26.
Gannon enters his first season as head coach of the Cardinals. While it is his first time serving as head coach of a NFL team, he has held various assistant positions throughout the league since 2017.
What to watch for
The Cardinals are understandably not putting a timetable on Murray's return, though owner Michael Bidwill said on The Dave Pasch Podcast in February that he thinks the quarterback's return will be earlier than midseason, with the hope that it's toward the beginning of the season.
Thus, given that ambiguity, it's fair to wonder whether the Rams will see Murray on Oct. 15, or not until Nov. 26.
Los Angeles will probably have a better idea when the season starts, and obviously closer to when it plays Arizona. But even then, that uncertainty will have an impact on their preparation for this matchup.
In terms of backup options behind Murray, the Cardinals currently have Colt McCoy, Jeff Driskel and 2023 fifth-round pick Clayton Tune under contract. McCoy has been the primary backup the past two seasons.