Vance Joseph is receiving help from the Arizona Cardinals
Some savvy free agent additions by the Arizona Cardinals front office should make the defensive coordinator’s job much easier
Back in December, the Arizona Cardinals disappointed a large number of their fans. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury‘s announcement that Vance Joseph would be back for the upcoming season left a contingent of the team’s followers scratching their heads. Many believed that the Cards decision to bring back a defensive coordinator who’s unit was beaten like a drum for the better part of 2019 was a major mistake.
To help remedy the situation, Arizona’s front office has been supplying Joseph with some very impressive reinforcements. On paper at least, the squad appears to be much improved on the defensive side of the ball. Cardinals management has spent significant money to make that happen, so Joseph may be plum out of excuses in 2020.
Cards defenders gave up a whopping 402.0 yards per matchup last fall, an amount that ranked them dead-last in the league. Joseph’s group also gave up 27.6 points per contest, a number that will have to come down significantly if Big Red hopes to contend this year. Will the acquisitions made thus far by general manager Steve Keim and company make a sizable difference?
Jordan Phillips, a free agent pickup from the Buffalo Bills, totaled 9.5 sacks from the defensive tackle position in ’19. Devon Kennard, an outside linebacker from the Detroit Lions, recorded 104 tackles and 14 sacks over the past two campaigns. De’Vondre Campbell, an inside linebacker who bolted from the Atlanta Falcons, registered 129 tackles and five passes defensed last season.
Arizona may be supplying Joseph with additional pieces as well. A few weeks from now, the NFL Draft is scheduled to take place. Prospects like cornerback Jeff Okudah, linebacker Isaiah Simmons and defensive lineman Derrick Brown are all possibilities for the Cardinals with the number-eight overall selection.
Joseph will likely have to oversee a dramatic turnaround by the Cards defense this fall to continue as the coordinator. The assistant coach is being handed the tools to succeed. It’s up to Joseph to utilize what he’s been given wisely.