Since Chandler Jones was injured, the Arizona Cardinals have counted on a variety of players to supply them with a pass rush
Over the course of the 2019 campaign, the pass rush of the Arizona Cardinals was basically a one-man show. Chandler Jones, the club’s star edge-rusher, registered an outstanding 19 quarterback sacks in the 16 games he appeared in. Shaq Barrett, who racked up 19.5 sacks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season, was the only NFL defender who was credited with more.
Things have been completely different for the Cards pass rush in 2020, however. The defense has been unable to rely on Jones, who suffered a season-ending bicep injury in week five. Since that unfortunate incident, Arizona has counted on a plethora of individuals to help put pressure on opposing signal-callers.
The leader of that pack has been Haason Reddick, the Cardinals 2017 first-round draft pick. The 26-year old has recorded 10 sacks, including a franchise-record five last Sunday versus the New York Giants. Ironically, the Cards front office declined the fifth-year option on Reddick’s rookie contract, a decision which will enable the former Temple University product to test the free agent waters in 2021.
Another surprise performer for Arizona’s defensive unit this fall has been third-year linebacker Dennis Gardeck. In extremely limited action, the special teams demon has managed to contribute five sacks for the Redbirds. Gardeck brings both effort and energy to the football field that’s reminiscent of the late, great Pat Tillman.
Tied for third in the team-lead with two sacks is a group of no less than eight Big Red pass-rushers. In no particular order, that contingent includes Markus Golden, Jordan Phillips, Angelo Blackson, Corey Peters, Isaiah Simmons, Budda Baker, Devon Kennard and De’Vondre Campbell. Tied for fourth place, with one sack apiece, are Jones, Zach Allen, Trevon Coley, Michael Dogbe, Josh Mauro and Byron Murphy.
That’s 37 sacks in 13 matchups by a vastly-improved Cardinals pass rush. What’s even more impressive is the fact that 16 different members of the Arizona roster have contributed to that number. Moving forward, it’s comforting to know that the team’s ability to put their opponent’s passer on the ground is no longer reliant on one person.