How Will the Arizona Cardinals Contain Patrick Mahomes?

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Arizona Cardinals enter Week 1 with the opportunity to contain one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL: Patrick Mahomes. 

The Arizona Cardinals could have used Chandler Jones for this matchup, but unfortunately, he is now in Vegas. I say this because one of the best ways to contain Mahomes is to bring pressure from the edge. This will force the star quarterback to try and escape the pocket and throw on the run.

Ideally, bringing pressure from both edges as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did in Super Bowl LV played a key role in containing Mahomes. But we need to remember that the Chiefs, who lost 31 to 9 in that contest, were playing without some of their best linemen. Mahomes himself also was not 100%.

Facing a healthy Chiefs team with one of the game’s best left tackles, bringing pressure from the edge seems like an insurmountable task. Especially with no elite pass rusher playing for the Cardinals and J.J. Watt, at this point, remaining Questionable for the matchup. Top edge rusher Markus Golden also won’t be 100%.

The Arizona Cardinals can use another proven method to contain Patrick Mahomes on Sunday.

While pressuring Mahomes is one key to stopping him, if his offensive line, especially the elite Orlando Brown, picks up the blitz, then what? While the Buccaneers brought pressure in Super Bowl LV, the Cincinnati Bengals took an opposite approach in the 2022 AFC Championship.

At one point in the game, the Bengals faced a 21-3 deficit and the matchup looked as though it would be over by half time. But second half adjustments gave the Bengals new life. One adjustment comprised blitzing just three and dropping eight into coverage.

The Buccaneers also dropped a substantial amount of defenders into coverage when it became clear they could simultaneously flush Mahomes outside the pocket. In both instances, it worked. While the Buccaneers allowed just 9 points in Super Bowl LV, the Bengals allowed 3 when they made the adjustment in the second half.

And while injuries decimated the Cardinals lately, it shows that, if just one guy can chase Mahomes from the edge, there is a chance they can stop Mahomes. This would come in conjunction with defensive coordinator Vance Joseph dropping Budda Baker, Jalen Thompson, Byron Murphy, Zaven Collins, and Isaiah Simmons, among others, into coverage.

Now Murphy and one of the safeties can contain JuJu Smith-Schuster. The game’s projected X-Factor, Isaiah Simmons, will have more help in preventing tight end Travis Kelce from making big plays.

This would leave Skyy Moore, Mecole Hardman, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling as three players the Cardinals must account for. But by placing both safeties into coverage, it takes away the trio’s speed and downfield threat. It will also make life easier on the thin depth at corner.

Related Story. Cardinals vs. Chiefs: Prediction and Odds for Week 1. light

So to stop Mahomes, someone on the edge needs to step up and get after him. This will force the All-Pro out of the pocket, allowing for seven and eight-man coverages. And as both the Bucs and Bengals showed, this is the way to contain arguably the NFL’s best quarterback.

Article Source: Is there now a blueprint for stopping Patrick Mahomes? by Doug Farrar

Article Source: Dropping 8: How Lou Anarumo Stifled Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ Offense by Mike Santagata