Found September 19, 2013 on Sports Report Arizona:
  After a hard-fought victory last Sunday the Arizona Cardinals turn their sights to another explosive offense, this time run by quarterback Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton.  The Cardinals will be traveling to the Bayou to play the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.  It is a battle of offensive minds in Payton and Bruce Arians, however it will be the Arizona defense which will decide the fate of this contest. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and the Cardinals defense did a solid job of limiting the Lions offense.  Bowles’ unit was able to shut down the running game of the Lions and force them to become one dimensional.  The difference between the Lions and Saints is that the person leading the symphony, Brees, is one of the best in the game and has years of experience.  Stopping the Lions offense revolved around limiting Calvin Johnson‘s touches and forcing the rest of the offense to beat them.  Even with Johnson’s 2 touchdowns and 100 plus yards receiving, the Cardinals defense was able to force the rest of the Lions players to step up and take control, something which they were ultimately unable to do. Drew Brees and company have better overall talent at every position along the offensive unit, which includes perhaps the most talented tight end in the NFL, Jimmy Graham.  The former college hoops star has been a man possessed over the last three seasons and has been an offensive juggernaut for Brees and the Saints.  This season Graham has averaged 100 yards receiving over the first two games of 2013 with a total of 14 receptions and 2 touchdowns.  The other weapons include running backs Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas as well as wide receivers Marques Colston, Lance Moore, and the rookie Kenny Stills.  All are versatile contributors who can hurt any defense.  Sproles is perhaps the most explosive and versatile of the bunch as he is often used on returns, out of the backfield, and as a reliable receiving outlet for the offense on third downs. For Bowles and the defense, the game plan won’t be the same as last week.  This isn’t an offense looking to establish the run.  This is an offense looking to throw the ball around the field and force the defense to play fast.  Thomas is a more than capable running back and if needed can put up solid numbers in the ground game.  However, the Saints only ask about 70-80 yards a game from the rushing attack to keep defenses from solely keying on the pass.  They do this with a lot more draws using the speed and elusiveness of Sproles and in run formations with the more conventional Thomas.  This is an offense that will use the fullback, a more complete offense than what was seen against the Lions. Against New Orleans, expect the defense to bring pressure on a majority of snaps where the Saints are in passing formations (3 or more receiver sets).  As with every other quarterback in the history of football, pressure is the best way to disrupt the rhythm of the guy looking to throw the ball.  Get pressure and force the quarterback to get rid of the ball before he is ready to do so.  The front four has not shown the ability to provide consistent pressure on the quarterback so expect Bowles to use various blitzes from his safeties and corners. The decision to blitz will obviously put added pressure on the secondary.  Patrick Peterson will likely cover Colston on the outside with the rest of the secondary matched up with the remaining receivers.  Peterson has the ability to take away Colston which would allow for a safety over the top in bracket coverage of Graham.  In terms of keeping Graham under control, the key will be to prevent clean releases off the line of scrimmage.  Graham is most dangerous on “Seam” or “Go” routes where he sprints straight down the field hoping to use his athleticism and speed to beat the smaller defensive back or slower linebacker.  Defenses typically use bracket coverage on these types of players, utilizing someone underneath and someone over the top to close down the throwing window.  This coverage isn’t always effective however as Brees is one of the best precision passers in the game and Graham is a physical specimen of a player. The Cardinals are in for a struggle on defense if they are unable to put pressure on Brees.  The defense will need to keep the game close for an offense still working out the kinks.  We’ll be back tomorrow to preview what the Cardinals offense will be up against with a revamped Saints defense.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Will the Cardinals Offense Make it a Shootout Against the Saints?

  Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals offense is beginning to run smoother each time out.  Against the Lions, the offense fixed some of the offensive line issues which cost them the game the week before.  The offense may not have put up a ton of yards or points in their win, but the rhythm and purpose was there.  This week the offense comes up against a revamped New Orleans...

Cardinals injury report: Larry Fitzgerald, Rashard Mendenhall non-participants in practice

The Arizona Cardinals appear to have potentially serious health concerns on the offensive side of the ball heading into week 3, according to their official team web site. All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been a non-participant in practice all week as he has been struggling with a tweaked hamstring that he sustained in last weekends game against the Detroit Lions. Though...

Bond between Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson began at LSU, comes full circle with Arizona Cardinals

It's a given Arizona Cardinals rookie safety Tyrann Mathieu the once embattled former LSU and St. Augustine standout will have enormous support Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome when he returns home to take on the New Orleans Saints. But it's unlikely Mathieu will have a bigger supporter in the building than Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson -- his friend former...

Arizona's Mathieu goes home in redemption, triumph

The Honey Badger is going home in a mixture of triumph and redemption. Two games into his pro career, Tyrann Mathieu already has proven he can play in the NFL. Now he heads to New Orleans, where his Arizona Cardinals face the Saints on Sunday. The diminutive, dynamic defensive back says he wants to change the minds of those in his hometown who wrote him off as a failure after he...

Cardinals rookies seizing CBA-created opportunity

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Take a look at the snap count for some of the Cardinals' rookies in Sunday's 25-21 win over the Detroit Lions. Defensive back Tyrann Mathieu played 53 snaps, safety Tony Jefferson played 47, running back Andre Ellington played 18, receiver Kerry Taylor played 17 and receiver Jaron Brown played 13. Can you imagine that happening under former coach Ken Whisenhunt...

Cardinals' WR Larry Fitzgerald confident he'll play this Sunday despite "questionable" game-status

The Arizona Cardinals official injury report lists star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald as “questionable” for this weekend’s game. However, Fitzgerald himself seems quite confident that he will play, according to azcentral.com's Bob McManaman. The All-Pro was quoted as saying that he was a full practice participant on Thursday despite conflicting reports stating that he...

Rashard Mendenhall Not Practicing Thursday

Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall (toe) missed practice again Thursday, according to Darren Urban of AzCardinals.com.Fantasy Spin:Mendenhall has to be considered questionable for Sunday's game. Fantasy owners should add backup Andre Ellington, who had 62 yards and a touchdown on six touches last week.

State Of The Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals reside in the outrageously competitive NFC West, leaving the near future looking bleak. The 49ers and Seahawks are both contenders and the Rams are rapidly on the rise. In the off-season reigning head coach of the year Bruce Arians joined, giving hope to the Cardinal faithful. Quarterback Carson Palmer was traded in, [...]

Rashard Mendenhall Returns To Practice Friday

Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall (toe) returned to practice Friday.Fantasy Spin:Mendenhall is listed as questionable but he's expected to start and is a strong flex play or even a RB2 in 12-team leagues with all the running back injuries this week.

Larry Fitzgerald Returns To Practice Friday

Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) returned to practice Friday.Fantasy Spin:Cardinals coach Bruce Arians decided to hold Fitzgerald off the practice field Wednesday and Thursday even though the receiver wanted to be on the field. He's expected to play Sunday against the Saints and should be started in all leagues.

Ndamukong Suh says he’s a bee that won’t be deterred from honey hole by gnats?

Detroit Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh delivered an absolutely bizarre quote on Wednesday about what he perceived as low blocks directed at his knees by Arizona Cardinals guard Paul Fanaika during last Sunday’s loss down in the desert. Somehow, Suh, who it should be noted is in a way complaining about cheap shots just one […]The post Ndamukong Suh says he’s a bee that...

Week three preview: Arizona Cardinals travel to New Orleans

(photo credit: David Drapkin/AP) Setting the stage It never gets any easier in the National Football League. After notching his first win as head coach, Bruce Arians had very little time to celebrate, as week three pits the Birdgang against the imposing New Orleans Saints, off to a 2-0 start after ending last season 7-9. Last week, the Saints pulled out a close one against the division...

Arizona Cardinals: Player Most Likely To Break Out In 2013

The Honey Badger. The Kid. Tyrann Mathieu. Whatever you call him, he has been a dominant force in the college game and has been nothing short of a steal in his first season as an NFL player.Mathieu has been converted from corner to safety, and has been handling his role exceptionally well. His first two games, he has a forced fumble that stopped the Rams from scoring a huge touchdown...

Arizona Cardinals: 2013 Week 3 NFL Power Rankings (#23)

Last week: 23 The Cardinals showed last week, and week 1 for that matter, that they’re going to be a competitive team in a very tough NFC. Their defense hasn’t been nearly as good as it was last year, thanks to losses in the secondary and the suspension of Daryl Washington, but Washington will be back in 2 weeks. Offensively, they still aren’t pass blocking well, but Carson...
Cardinals News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.