For the Arizona Cardinals it could be Keim-time once again
Arizona Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim was busy over the last few months searching for and signing new players that would help the Cardinals recover from another year at the bottom of NFL defenses. We are only two weeks into the 2020 NFL season, but the defensive signings Keim made in the offseason appear to be paying off already.
While the Cardinals 2020 draft was defensively focused, the organization also added five important players through trade, FA signings, or off waivers. Jordan Philips from Buffalo, Devon Kennard from Detroit, Dre Kirkpatrick from Cincinnati , De’Vondre Campbell from Atlanta, and Angelo Blackson from Arizona’s new best friend Bill O’Brien and the Houston Texans.
First, the sexiest of defensive stats; sacks. Arizona’s defense has accounted for seven sacks over the first two games with star sack-master Chandler Jones accounting for only one of them. In fact, no player has more than one and three have come from the hands of newcomers Jordan Phillips, Devon Kennard, and Angelo Blackson.
In fact, Angelo Blackson was the first Cardinal to record a sack in 2020 taking down Jimmy Garrapolo in Week One. A last-minute signing, Blackson is also tied with Chandler Jones in quarterback pressures with 3 on the year.
De’Vondre Campbell has been a shining star in the inside linebacker group. He trails only Budda Baker in total tackles with seventeen over two games. In the absence of immediate impact from rookie Isaiah Simmons the signing of Campbell to a one-year deal over the summer keeps looking better and better.
Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was signed last minute after another unfortunate season-ending injury to Robert Alford. He has only been targeted four times and given up 23 yards, but the 75% completion rate against him is something he will need to continue to improve as the season rolls along.
The combination of these new players, and also the effect that coaching continuity can have with Vance Joseph in his second year as defensive coordinator, have led to a massive jump in the rankings for the Arizona Cardinals defense. At the end of 2020, the Cards were 28th in total team defense. Through two weeks, they are ranked 4th.