Mid-season Grades: Arizona Cardinals’ Defense
Mid-season Grades for the Arizona Cardinals' Defense
The Arizona Cardinals’ defense is another bright spot for this team. Loaded with young talent the sky is the figurative limit for this unit. The Cardinals’ rank 4th overall in passing yards at just over 190 and 21st in rushing with just under 120. The Cardinals have their offensive problems, but with a defense like this, the offense only needs to play a little better to win.
This defensive unit has been carrying the team all season long. If you look at the points allowed the Cardinals’ “D” has given up more than 20 points only three times this season and that is counting the game where QB John Skelton threw a “pick 6”, so really it’s only two.
At times this unit can be downright nasty. There is still room for improvement and that is a scary thought for most offensive coordinators in the NFL. I would categorize this team as with a “bend a little, but don’t break” style because they have been doing some bending as of late. Especially after the Cardinals’ offense goes three and out more than a handful of times in a game. This defense is good, but when they get tired they can be a tad lazy. It’s not their fault, but they really have to focus on technique, like most people, when they are tired.
This defense is good and I enjoy a happy article, so most, if not all grades are average or better. The Cardinals need a win bad this weekend going into their bye week. This defense can get the job done, but they need help. Here are my mid-season grades for the 2012 Cardinals’ defense, enjoy.
Darnell Dockett: Dockett has been slowed by injuries all season long, so we will give him a break, but as he gets healthier he needs to perform. Nothing gets this defense more pumped than the big man chasing down quarterbacks.
Dan Williams: Williams is the nose in a 3-4 scheme. His job is to take on double teams every play, so his production in terms of stats is going to be way down. His 11 tackles this season do not give him justice for the work he has put in.
Calais Campbell: Campbell has not been as effective as he was hoping this season rushing the passer. However, Campbell plays right end which means he has to go against some of the best tackles in the league. It’s also worth mentioning he was defensive player of the week after a great effort against the New England Patriots. If he had to go against Cardinals’ LT D’Anthony Batiste every Sunday he would probably be in the double digits by now.
O’Brien Schofield: This man has been consistent on the left side all season. You know what you are going to get from him and that is the best thing a defensive coordinator could ask for.
Daryl Washington: Washington leads the team in sacks, tackles, and forced fumbles. His 8 sacks in 7 games is a Cardinals’ record. I’m not sure how his grades were in school, but this “A” should help his average.
Paris Lenon: A lot of people have not liked the play of Lenon, but sometimes the right side of the field can just play a little tougher. A lot of teams will stack the left side of the line making it very difficult for players to have their best games, but sometimes you just got to play through it.
Sam Acho: I would like to see a little more production out of the second year man, but his name has come up on more than one occasion when the Cardinals need a big stop. Acho has a chance to be great in this league. Here’s to hoping he stays healthy and is able to stuff the run and get after quarterbacks for many years to come.
Patrick Peterson: He leads the team in passes defended with 8 and interceptions with 3. You really can’t ask too much more from the future “Primetime” Deion Sanders. However, I would like to see a little more consistency when he tackles fools.
Adrian Wilson: Wilson is having a solid year. The 12 year veteran continues to be a rock at the safety position. Hopefully his body doesn’t give out, because the Cardinals need him.
Kerry Rhodes: He missed a game and is still tied for second in passes defended. This Cardinals’ secondary may be tops in the league. They average only 192 yards via the air a game, so it’s hard to give anybody less than an A-.
William Gay: Solid as a rock. Can’t say enough good things about this secondary. Only problem I have with Gay is that he is only 5’10”. Somebody needs to stretch this guy out.