Dec. 16, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA: The Arizona Cardinals line up against the Detroit Lions at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Arizona Cardinals defense and coordinator Todd Bowles are under the microscope after a week one loss to the Rams. The Rams lateral slide and switch scheme is a little difficult to defend against. The Rams were moving the ball well and the big plays came when they lulled the Arizona defense to focus on the lateral movement as a player (Jared Cook) slips deep for a large play or touchdown.
The secondary did well overall week one with the MVP being rookie Tyrann Mathieu and his “never say die” attitude and play. They did break rule number one for all defensive backs with not allowing anyone behind them a few times. Their performance will likely be better this week against the Lions when pressure is actually applied to the quarterback.
The secondary’s number one concern is Calvin Johnson this week. The rest of their energy should be aimed at helping the front seven contain Reggie Bush as he is arguably the NFL’s best dual threat since the 2006 draft. The linebacker corps did well considering they didn’t allow 100 yards rushing, but they did fail to slow down the tight-end and quarterback which proved to be a huge factor in the week one loss.
The Lions should expect to see a lot of pressure from the front seven due to a poor outing in week one and that the Lions offensive line isn’t as skilled or deep as the Rams. It was stated that John Abraham was utilized in 20 plays week one although I only saw him 5 times including the couple plays were he got a hand on Sam Bradford. John Abraham is going to be let off his leash and actually play 20 snaps this week.
The defensive line did well against a tough offensive line in St.Louis. Typical defenses are schemed to allow a ball hawking secondary to score touchdowns but the ball tipping and hawking defensive ends and tackles stole the show in week one giving Dan Williams the MVP for the front 7. The defensive line should have little issue with a less talented Detroit offensive line.
Theoretical Gameplan: Apply pressure to Matthew Stafford while focusing-on and containing Megatron and Bush as best as they can. As a result the next progression for the quarterback would be to utilize the other half of the field where Antoine Cason and Tyrann Mathieu can have opportunities to get the ball back for the offense or even score a few points.