3 players the Arizona Cardinals need to utilize differently

The Arizona Cardinals have performed better than expected, but with the team so banged up, they need to get even more creative starting in Week 5.
Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers
Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers / Michael Owens/GettyImages
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Dennis Gardeck
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Dennis Gardeck (45) celebrates his sack of New York Giants quarterback / Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY

3 - Dennis Gardeck

This may come as a shock to you, because Dennis Gardeck has been the Arizona Cardinals impact player across the first four weeks of the season. However, Gardeck has been utilized in many roles, mainly on the defensive line/EDGE. But it may shock you that he has seen fewer snaps at the position than Zaven Collins, Cameron Thomas, and Victor Dimukeje. 

Per PFF, Gardeck only has 95 snaps at EDGE, and 14 at slot corner. Contrast this with Zaven Collins, who has 122 at EDGE and just one at slot corner. Victor Dimukeje has 113 at EDGE and zero at slot corner, while Cameron Thomas has 102. 

While Gardeck has the build where he can play at slot corner, unlike the others, you can’t help but ask: Why is he not lining up more at EDGE? Gardeck has shown us this season that he’s the Cardinals best EDGE rusher, and there’s no reason he should be lining up at EDGE less than Thomas and Collins, as neither of them has made as much of an impact. 

Dimukeje could be an exception here, as he’s wreaked some havoc in the backfield. But with the Cards defense struggling to stay healthy and execute, Gardeck needs to be where he will best serve the team, and that’s at EDGE.


(Statistics and grades provided by PFF [subscription] - the numbers shown in this article update regularly and may change as the week progresses. Additional statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)