The Arizona Cardinals may not have much going on offensively these days, however all is not lost. The Cards defense is what has kept the Cards in games the past couple of weeks. There was a time, when you couldn't even imagine that.
Five sacks. That's how many the Cards defense had against the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday. Two of those were by defensive tackle Alan Branch.
Nine tackles for losses. Also a number achieved against the Hawks. This shows the Cards defense is attacking at the line of scrimmage and keeping the opponent from gaining any ground. Early in the season this was not happening at all.
Overall, the Cards are 32nd against the pass and 28th against the rush, but really most of that came in their two blowout losses to the Atlanta Falcons and the San Diego Chargers. The past two games against the New Orleans Saints and the Seahawks, the defense has done its job.
The pass defense still needs some work though. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is good, but not great, at least not yet. He still takes too many chances. He will make a great play one moment and break your heart the next. He is always looking for the big play. Fans just want to see consistent play.
Safety Kerry Rhodes is playing better than advertised and may end up being as good or better than the man he replaced, Antrel Rolle. There I said it. If you don't like it, please feel free to disagree, but that's how I feel. Rhodes is all over the field and he also has an interception and two fumble returns for touchdowns. He seems to always be around the ball.
Linebacker Jerry Porter has been a nice pickup. Getting off to a rocky start with the law before he even took the field with the Cards, he has emerged as a leader in the clubhouse. He is a veteran who, even though is older, has the experience and has been on some great defensive teams. He had a sack this past weekend in Seattle.
The defense single-handedly kept the Cards in the game against the Hawks. The Cards turned the ball over five times, twice deep inside their own territory and yet the Seattle only came up with one touchdown the entire game. They have 12 takeaways this season. The defense has scored three touchdowns already this season.
The guy I am keeping my eye on though is cornerback Greg Toler. He already has a sack, an interception, and two forced fumbles. He is a tackle machine. He had 12 tackles against the Hawks and is averaging about eight a game.
The defense has a very good mix of young players and traveled veterans. That mix has proved a formidable bunch the last two weeks. There are 10 games left and with the offense in transition, it will be up to the defense to rise to the occasion every week.