Back on opening day, the pass defense of the Arizona Cardinals turned in an impressive performance during a 20-16 loss to the Washington Commanders. For the better part of the afternoon, Commanders wideouts like Terry McLaurin, Johan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel were held in check. Perhaps many Cards fans had underestimated what looked like an undermanned back end of the defensive unit heading into Week 1.
As it turns out, Cardinals diehards who were begging for the front office to upgrade the team's secondary this past offseason may have had a point. The lack of talent in the defensive backfield was on full display during a heartbreaking, 31-28 defeat to the New York Giants. The group actually held up well during the first two quarters of the contest, but the second half turned into an utter disaster for the suddenly outclassed Redbirds.
New York got a memorable comeback victory underway on the first play of the third quarter last Sunday. Marco Wilson, a third-year cover guy, was beaten badly on a 58-yard pass play. Even more egregious was the fact that it was Jalin Hyatt, an inexperienced Giants rookie, who completely torched the 24-year old Wilson.
Kei'Trel Clark, a first-year starter opposite Wilson for the Cards, also took his lumps. Jalen Thompson, a talented safety, may be a bit out of place as the squad's nickel corner. Additional options at the position such as Antonio Hamilton Sr., Christian Matthew, Kris Boyd and Starling Thomas V fill out the club's unimpressive depth chart.
Arizona Cardinals should've addressed the problem at cornerback this past offseason
Question marks pertaining to the cornerback spot began to crop up last March when Byron Murphy Jr. inked a free-agent deal with the Minnesota Vikings. General manager Monti Ossenfort allowed Arizona's number-one cover guy to simply walk out the door, and never adequately replaced him. The Cards' new coaching staff was obviously hoping that Wilson could fill Murphy's shoes, but that may have been nothing but wishful thinking.
There were several intriguing free-agent cover guys available this past spring who management could've made a play for, but Ossenfort passed on all of them. Jamel Dean, James Bradberry, Cameron Sutton, and Jonathan Jones would've all been capable replacements for the departed Murphy. Instead, the organization made the mistake of thinking that the overmatched Wilson was up to the task.
In simplest terms, the Cardinals may have goofed. It's extremely difficult for a defense to stop opposing offenses without a couple of top-notch cornerbacks. Unfortunately, it may be far too late for Ossenfort and his cohorts to fix an issue that should've been addressed several months back.