The Arizona Cardinals played their third game of the season in the comfortable indoor environments of State Farm Stadium, being a new and young team still learning they have had ups and downs and today the downs was their defense.
Its easy to critique the offense when they don’t score enough points to win the game, and over look the actual reason as to why they were not successful.
The meaning of the word defend or defense is as follows in the webster dictionary:
“Resist an attack made on (someone or something); protect from harm” in a sports capacity it’s to stop the attack of your opponent.
Sunday the Cardinals defense decided to stay home mentally and go through the motions physically against the Cam Newton less Carolina Panthers, and dropped to their second loss 38-20.
After the first drive of the game where Chandler Jones got the strip sack turnover, the Cardinals defense laid down on almost every other drive after that and killed all of the offensive mojo side of the ball.
The Panthers second string quarterback Kyle Allen was made to look like Peyton Manning at State Farm stadium, shredding the Cards defense to the tune of 19/26 261 and 4TD passes.
After the Cardinals stopped the Panthers on the first drive they would not stop the Panthers on 6 of 7 straight possessions and by that time the score was 38- 20 and the game was out of reach.
There is plenty of blame to go around but it has to start on the defensive end, coming in they had to know that the Panthers had two weapons on offense and they did nothing to prepare themselves to defend them.
Greg Olsen coming off an injury looked 10 years younger snatching 6 receptions for 65 yards and 2 touchdowns, while the bell cow of the team Christian McCaffrey wore down the Redbirds poor defensive effort with a back breaking burst on a very well blocked counter play that went for his career longest run of 76 yards.
This was a pathetic effort on the defensive end, from Vance Joseph down to the players.
The pressure on the quarterback was minimal as Allen ripped apart the defense making spectacular plays in and out of the pocket.
Outside Linebacker veteran pass rusher Terrell Suggs looked old and slow and may be at his end in the league as a premier pass rusher, the Cards were better with some pressure when Casius Marsh was on the other side of Chandler Jones.
Although Jones got 2 sacks and one a turnover early, he tends to fade away throughout the game and when crunch time comes and they need to get pressure and sacks, he is gassed and cannot deliver.
Todays play by the defense reminds me of the poor offense last year and the poor job that Coordinator Mike McCoy did during that pathetic stretch until he was relieved of his duties.
That type of performance today giving up 434 total yards to a team that was missing its starting quarterback was almost worth the job of the one that put that unprepared unit out on the field.
The only reason it may not warrant a firing of defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is because the defense was the reason the Cardinals were in the first two games of the season with one of those games ending in comeback tie.
After the game its clear to hear players speak and let you know what actually happened, as they do it without trying to throw each other under the bus and point fingers.
But some times their words give it away, as Murray after the game said “We have to play complimentary football, we have to get better at that” that was a subtle shot at his no-show defense that did not compliment the offense the first three quarters as the offense moved the ball down the field at will.
Taking what the defense gave them the Cardinals offense was pretty sharp, as Kyler Murray picked up key first downs with his legs opening up the deadly part of this system.
David Johnson has been on our bad list for some time, but today took major strides in looking like the old David Johnson.
Johnson ran hard and punishing with bad intent, as he dropped his shoulder and pounded into defenders not going down easy.
The offense stalled as the defense did not keep their momentum that was built, as the Panthers answered on every drive the Cardinals scored on.
The secondary played pretty well up until this game, as we were surprised at how they had held up so well in the absence of their striating corners Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford.
Today their inexperienced showed clearly and the rookies looked liked rookies and the entire back end looked lost, as they continued to lose the tight end and the speedy running back.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury did an ok job in the beginning but as the game went on and the defensive scheme not working, as the head coach he should have override his struggling Defensive coordinator and made defensive adjustments. This is where Kingsburry’s NFL inexperience comes into play, as he relies on his coaching staff and lets them do their jobs without interrupting their plans and schemes.
This was a job that the Head Coach was suppose to take over and get right in game adjustments and get the players on the field that wanted to compete.
It’s going to be very interesting to see how they bounce back as a team, with a division foe coming in next week.
The seattle Seahawks coming off a loss at home as well will come in with bad intensions and will get their first taste of this new air-raid system, and you can be assured that Pete Carroll and company will be very prepared.
Will the Cardinals be adding any players to the roster during the week is still up in the air, as they made room with a restructuring of Chandler Jones contract but no moves were made.
After that performance I think they need to look deep in their pockets and get some players in here that will make them relevant in the division, perhaps a Jalen Ramsey or Trent Williams to give them star power and instant credibility.