2014 Positional Analysis: Arizona Cardinals Defensive Line

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DE Tommy Kelly

Nov 16, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) is pressured by Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (95) at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Stats: 16 games| 25 tackles| 1 sack| 0 forced fumbles

Like Rucker, Kelly was introduced as a fill-in for the injury-plagued line. After suffering an ACL injury being released by the New England Patriots, he landed in Arizona with the hope of reviving his career.  His work in Arizona was one of many pleasant surprises.

Kelly earned a plus 4.3 pass rush grade from PFF. This was his most valuable contribution, especially when Arizona was struggling to get pass rush early in the season. While he is old at 35 years of age, neither that nor his injury really seemed to affect his ability to contribute.

Of course, for aging players like Kelly, Sometimes when it finally goes, it goes. It didn’t in 2014, and he was able to bring back some of the pass rushing talent from his prime years to bail out the Cards in some tough spots.

DE Ed Stinson 

Oct 26, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Ed Stinson against the Philadelphia Eagles at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Stats: 11 games| 6 tackles| o sacks| 0 forced fumbles

Stinson was a sixth round draft pick in 2014 for the Cardinals. His only role in his rookie season was as a bit of a stop-gap when Campbell got hurt. His numbers make his contribution look minimal, which is no surprise from a late-pick rookie like him.

Stinson certainly wasn’t what one could call good for the Cards, but he did make a couple of plays and, much like other lineman, filled space in a way that stats fail to reflect. He certainly has the size and length necessary to succeed at the pro level, but he struggled to find time in the rotation of players.

Maybe the recent shuffles on defense will open up more playing time for him. For now, he’s just a footnote with a couple of good moments to his name.


The defensive line was a critical part of Arizona in 2014. Unfortunately, the loss of two of its members may introduce some problems going forward. The depth of the line was able to alleviate problems last season, and if it can step up again for a full 16 games, the Cardinals defense will retain its fearsome reputation.

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