Found September 19, 2013 on
Sports Report Arizona:
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 Saints squad looking to finally come into their own. Merely winning the battle on offense won’t be enough as the Saints have one of the most explosive offenses in all of football.
The offense under head coach Bruce Arians can be classified as pass first. There are no fullbacks on the roster, instead the Cardinals use a tight end in the backfield in run formations or an additional offensive lineman. This offers a bit more in terms of pass catching options out of these sets as a tight end is typically more accustomed to seeing the football thrown his way than a stocky fullback. The offense uses running back Rashard Mendenhall as their primary guy in single back sets as well as use rookie Andre Ellington as the other backfield presence in two back sets. These formations present the mismatches that Arians and the offense are looking for.
Against the new 3-4 scheme being used by the Saints, the two back sets provide an added dimension. The Saints are trying to implement the new system with personnel who fit in the old 4-3. This results in slower and less athletic defensive ends being made to play outside linebacker. The Saints are without one of their most effective pass rushers in Will Smith. Smith was being coverted into an outside linebacker before he was lost for a season due to injury. The loss was made a bit easier when the team traded for OLB Parys Haralson from the 49ers in exchange for a 7th round draft pick. Haralson was a veteran of San Francisco who missed all of 2012 due to an injury and had seen his role diminish in the Bay Area. Haralson has accounted for 5 total tackles including 1 sack already this season. The best pass rusher for the Saints is DE Cameron Jordan. Jordan is in his third season out of the University of California and is a Chandler, Arizona native. He has started the season with 8 total tackles and 1 sack. Jordan is a big and powerful player standing at 6-4 and 287 pounds who will be a handful for the left side of the offensive line.
The run game is where the 3-4 defense finds its home. The nose tackle play by Brodrick Bunkley is key in stopping the run. The combination of Daryn Colledge, Lyle Sendlein, and Paul Fanaika will need to keep Bunkley on his heels and get to the second level of the defense to give Mendenhall and the rest of the Arizona running backs room to run. Running the football from multiple receiver sets will force the Saints to abandon their comfortable 3-4 alignment and put more defensive backs on the field. Even with a slightly injured Larry Fitzgerald, the talent at receiver will prevail against the weak secondary of the Saints. There is no doubt the defense will bring pressure as much as possible to force Carson Palmer into bad decisions. The week one loss to the Rams showed how effective pressure can be at stopping Palmer and causing mistakes. A release valve will likely be used by Arians and the offense in the form of Ellington or someone underneath such as Andre Roberts or Rob Housler. In either case, the offensive line will need to be at its best against the pressure and in a loud and hostile environment like the Superdome.
In the end the Cardinals offense has the weapons to exploit an average Saints defense. As always, the onus will be on the offensive line to hold up well for the passing and running games to take control. The pieces are there, its now up to the execution on the field. The offense will need to put points on the board early and often to keep up with an explosive Saints offense. The Cardinals have a shot. What they do with that shot will determine the outcome.
BEST OF MAXIM
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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.
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, [...]
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.
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.
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...
(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...
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...
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...