Free agent additions Darius Philon and Terrell McClain were signed to help solidify the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive line
Throughout much of the 2018 campaign, the defensive line of the Arizona Cardinals looked overmatched. Putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks was not a problem. In fact, the group accounted for an impressive 35.5 of the Cards’ sacks last season.
But while taking down signal-callers was never an issue, the squad’s run defense was a whole different story. Opponents’ running backs sliced through Arizona’s front wall with relative ease for most of the year. Former coach Steve Wilks’ ill-advised 4-3 scheme certainly deserved a good bit of the blame, but a lack of effective run-stoppers were a factor as well.
In addition to a switch back to a 3-4 system, the Cardinals also looked to the free agent market for help in addressing the weakness. General manager Steve Keim brought in two veterans who have the ability to keep ball-carriers in check. Players who the Cards firmly believe can make a difference.
Back in March, Arizona signed 25-year old Darius Philon to a two-year contract. The defensive end, who was penciled in as a starter immediately, tallied 80 tackles and 9.5 sacks during his four seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers. Philon, who attended the University of Arkansas, was a sixth-round draft pick back in 2015.
Two months after acquiring Philon, the Cardinals landed another defender. Terrell McClain, who’ll be performing for his seventh professional franchise this fall, was inked to a one-year “prove-it” deal. The 30-year old, who was brought in to provide depth, has totaled 126 tackles and 7.5 sacks during his eight seasons in the league.
While Philon and McClain would not be considered top-tier acquisitions, the Cards are certainly looking for the pair to add some stability to the defensive line. Philon will have a more featured role with the team, but McClain will also be utilized. After the disaster that took place in ’18, any improvement will be welcomed.