Retooling the Defense

Discussion in 'Arizona Cardinals' started by Harry, Jan 16, 2021.

  1. Harry

    Harry ASFN Consultant and Senior Writer

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    It seems almost certain now the Cards will stick with Joseph. At times the defense played well. If they can figure out how to overcome a few issues they might be more consistent.

    Joseph came up with a blitz strategy that brought a bunch of people up to the line hoping the defense couldn’t figure which ones would be rushing the passer. My impression was that it would have worked better if they would have approached it differently. They didn’t feint or move around much. I would like to have seen more stunts. Few Cardinals exhibited enough first step quickness to utilize against any offensive line indecision. The exception might have been Gardeck who seemed to be quick enough to benefit. Also part of the problem was this seemed to be about the only blitz package. On rare occasions they would bring Baker or send Reddick but they definitely need a much more diverse and creative package.

    The Cards, like most teams, now play quite a bit of zone, especially against running QBs. The problem is the Cards continually exhibited communication problems. Time after time we saw receivers run by a defender who then turned to find no one had picked up that receiver. This happened a little in man, but mostly in zone. One of the ways to beat a zone is for the receiver to “sit down” in one of the zone’s holes. In an effective zone, someone slides to take that receiver. Too often the Cards’ defenders looked at each other, unsure who was responsible for covering. Some of this was due to the extensive personnel changes that health required. Still, since it’s certain they will often play this defense, they need to drill on it until everyone clearly knows their assignment.

    Then there’s TE coverage, which admittedly was better this year. I’ll take up middle of the field coverage below but in man the Cards use either Baker or Campbell. Sometimes they use both against 2 TE sets. Baker used 2 strategies. He either smothered the tight end with in-your-face coverage or laid back attempting to hit the receiver at the moment of the intended catch. Baker does hit surprisingly hard for his size. Campbell was more physical in coverage and could press cover when needed. My concern is partly that Campbell may not be retained. The Cards are considering going with Hicks & Simmons as ILBs. I think Simmons would be okay in coverage, but it will take experience for him to be fully effective.

    That brings us to the other TE issue, middle of the field coverage. Hicks is ineffective in coverage, often leaving the middle open. This was especially ineffective when in man Hicks had to cover his man down the field. The further they went, the greater the separation and the easier it was to complete a long pass. This did also impact some RB targeting as well. My feeling is to cut Hicks going with Campbell & Simmons. It may cost a little cap money depending what they can do on a Campbell contract. However, this is a more versatile pairing that can improve defensive flexibility.

    The injuries to the D-line make it difficult to assess the strategies employed there. Perhaps, for example, Phillips injuries started early, preventing him from getting upfield more. That could have made a huge difference in pass prevention strategies. Peters & Peko are not top anchors in the middle and Fotu is raw. This is a bad draft for DTs, so this will be hard to improve looking at cap space. The best hope is for health & growth.

    A less significant concern is holding the edge. Golden & to a lesser extent Reddick both tended to get caught inside when the ball went outside. Older fans can remember Simeon Rice who was so intent on hitting the QB, he would literally run by the ball carrier. This wasn’t a huge issue but did cost the Cards a few times, especially on third down.

    The final piece to this puzzle is the game plan. The Cards seemed befuddled by QBs on whom they had little film. The standard NFL tactic is to pressure them. In the Eagles game the Cards waited until the second half to get aggressive, but it worked. In other similar games they never developed a sense of urgency. Against running QBs the Cards defense seemed to have no sense of controlling running lanes or the edge. Rarely did they use Simmons to spy the QB, though he would seem to be the perfect candidate.

    These are coaching issues and Joseph must start correcting this stuff if the Cards are to become a dominant defense.
     
    daves, Morty, BigRedArk and 2 others like this.
  2. football karma

    football karma Happy in the pretense of knowledge

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    interestingly, cutting Hicks would (pre June 1) save the team $3mm / (post June 1) $6mm in cap space

    given that it looks to be a buyers market for solid mid-tier players like Campbell -- a $6mm annual deal might do it
     
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  3. Finito

    Finito Registered

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    Our D line is fine they just need to stay healthy this year. Our line was killed by injuries

    LB is going to get much better with addition of Chandler Jones and the rise of Isiah Simmons

    our secondary? Who knows
     
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  4. TRW

    TRW Registered

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    Maybe they can learn how to stop giving up 3rd and forever first downs to the other team?
     
  5. Bkbobo

    Bkbobo Registered

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    It will be fun watching Chandler and Simmons out there at the same time
     
  6. GuernseyCard

    GuernseyCard Registered

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    Jordon has $6m in prorated signing bonus to be calculated. ($6m - dead money)

    His salary + roster bonus in 2021: $6m ( a wash!)

    We add $3m to available space if we do it after June 1.

    (we take his 2022 salary + roster bonus off the books.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
  7. football karma

    football karma Happy in the pretense of knowledge

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    daves likes this.
  8. GuernseyCard

    GuernseyCard Registered

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    My calculation in 2021 was salary ($5M) + roster bonus ($1m) not the prorated signing bonus, which equals the $6m accelerated tabulation in 2021 of the prorated signing bonus ($3m + $3m).

    The $3m "saving" only comes if he's designated as a post-June 1st cut.
     
  9. football karma

    football karma Happy in the pretense of knowledge

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    Hicks cap hit for 2021 is $9mm. Its $6mm of 2021 payments + $3mm of 2021 signing bonus proration

    if they cut him, his cap hit consists of 2021 bonus proration of $3mm + 2022 accelerated signing bonus proration of $3mm = $6mm

    they save $3mm.

    if you dont trust me, try these guys: Arizona Cardinals Salary Cap | Over the Cap
     
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  10. juza76

    juza76 Registered

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    Having Chandler back and Reddick gained confidence after a great year and with gardeck ready to sub in we are set

    I would add a very good defensive lineman, like Kerry Hyder Jr

    We need 2 CBS, i d go with go Ankhello Weatherspoon and Horn

    I D love to see one day Murphy playing safety and turning into a pro bowler
     
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  11. GuernseyCard

    GuernseyCard Registered

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    I've said the same thing in a different way.
     
  12. GuernseyCard

    GuernseyCard Registered

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    If Pete and RePete are in a boat and Pete falls out, who's left?
     
  13. juza76

    juza76 Registered

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    Does it bother u if I would like to see him at safety?
    Do u have the crystal ball? No
    So I can be right as i can be wrong
     
  14. PACardsFan

    PACardsFan Registered User

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    Both sides of the ball take on the personality of their respective coaches. Our offense looks as lethargic as KK and our D looks as clueless as Vance does. Good God, we need some energy from a coach on that sideline.
     
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  15. football karma

    football karma Happy in the pretense of knowledge

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    except they get those savings today, not post june 1

    post june 1, the savings increase to $6mm as a result of pushing $3mm of dead money onto the 2022 cap
     

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