After a disheartening opening night performance the defense of the Arizona Cardinals must find a way to patch up the holes
There’s no denying the Arizona Cardinals defense has some pretty impressive talent. Names like Patrick Peterson, Calais Campbell, Tyrann Mathieu and newcomer Chandler Jones are names that jump out at you.
Despite all the starpower, the defense was basically shredded by the New England Patriots offense on Sunday night. The unit just couldn’t get off the field, allowing an embarrassing 10 out of 16 third downs to be converted. To add insult to injury it was inexperienced quarterback Jimmy Garroppolo, not Tom Brady, who did the shredding.
Why the defense performed so bad isn’t exactly clear. Early on there was the ever so familiar lack of a pass rush even though Jones was on the field. There was also the matter of cornerback Brandon Williams, who failed to impress at the corner spot opposite Peterson.
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The unit did play better in the second half. Suddenly the pass rush improved, led by Jones and his counterpart across the way, Markus Golden. Williams also seemed to settle down but he still remains a huge question mark going forward.
They did crumble at the end of the game. The drive that resulted in the game-winning field goal by Stephen Gostkowski was excruciating to watch. They would hold down the fort on 1st and 2nd down only to give it up on 3rd down.
Head coach Bruce Arians promises everything that went wrong defensively can be fixed. Even though his group performed well last season you have to wonder if defensive coordinator James Bettcher is over matched. What happens when his defense goes up against top quarterbacks in the league after the success Garroppolo had?
It’s only one game and it’s way too early for an all-out panic. At the same time you can’t help but have some concerns. One thing is for sure, they must pull it together before losses start stacking up.