Four areas proving the Arizona Cardinals remain a work in progress

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Third down defense

The Cardinals had the number one third-down defense in the league through the first three weeks. That’s progress, no doubt. Especially from a defense that struggled week in and week out last season. But you know it’s still a work in progress when they allowed the Panthers to convert third and a mile four times.

The Cardinals also backed the Panthers up on a third and nineteen. Only to allow a sixteen-yard play to set up fourth and short. You know what happened. Carolina converted, and it led to a touchdown. A definite harbinger on how the afternoon would go for the Cards.

And you also know what happens when your team fails to stop its opponents on third down. The team loses momentum. The defense gets gassed. And the opponent puts together drives with ease. Winning the time of possession game and keeping an offense capable of hanging with any defense off the field. And it resulted in a 31-14 blowout before the Cards made the score a little more respectable in garbage time with a late touchdown.

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The best way to describe the Cardinals third-down defense? Inconsistent. It has proven it can make the big stop on third down over the first three weeks of the season. That’s great. But they’ve yet to do so on a consistent basis. Until then, third-down defense continues to be a work in progress.