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.
1 Comment:
  • After watching this weeks Cardinal game vs. Saints, I can only wonder, where is Vince Young? Palmer's woes can't ALL be laid at Brown's feet. A mobile QB could roll away from that pressure. And tell me again how much better Bowles is than Horton? In this writer's humble opinion, the Cardinals have not improved themselves from last year.

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