OPERATION RED DESERT STORM CARDINALS D/ST
BEAST DOME NATION.
It is how I start every Fantasy Football Season. I breakdown each team. Usually, it takes a bit of time for me to find a strong Defense to fall in love with. However on the first team I did by attacking the NFC West. The Arizona Cardinals Defense is more than sexy to my eye. Too early to say if they are, ‘MTV The One’ but they are definitely a type that can have some strong performances.
Vance Joseph is the Head Coach of the Defense. In fact I guarantee you Kliff Kingsbury cannot tell you exactly how good the deepest of the defensive bench players go, Kliff only focuses on offense.
Vance Joseph took over the Post Peyton Manning Broncos and did not do well. Peyton Manning we all had the year when he set an NFL Record in TDs and Yards, when everyone thought he was over the hill. Cannot wait for that next option to come. Even the next Matt Ryan when he won MVP and Tom Brady MVP, both late steals. Not to forget the late steal career years from Stafford/Big Ben/Goff mixed in. Or the 7th Round Drew Brees steal of last year. Excited and grateful that we will receive that QB again.
Back to the article.
Vance Joseph is more of a Defensive Back type of Coach. Which to me is not a good thing and can be the reason this unit is not our unit for the long haul. A DB does not have the aggression it takes to get to the QB to get everyone to do their jobs correctly. Their Linebacker Coach Bill Davis also does not impose aggression and I would much prefer to see an Ex NFL Star at that position in this position.
It also does not help that Vance has been on losing teams his entire career; Cardinals last season, Broncos two seasons before that, Miami, Bengals when Dalton could not make the playoffs, Texans during the Matt Schaub days, and 49ers during the Terrell Owens phase.
The Superstar talent is there, but the coaching staff is not.
However, here is why to the naked eye, the Cardinals Defense is a sexy unit.
BEAST EYE FOR THE BEAST GUY
Linebacker Core Makeover
Cardinals Defense last year was awful. Teams could run right through them, and Karlos Dansby at 36 was over the hill and could not tackle anyone. So what did this team do at Linebacker?
They got rid of everyone and added 3 studs.
De’Vondre Campbell OLB/ILB
Campbell has been a popular IDP option from me since Day 1 as a rookie. With the Falcons he can cover any TE like a slot Corner with size. He can make open field tackles and play great zone D. When the Falcons lost Deion Jones and Keanu Neal, it was up to Campbell to save the team from being embarrassed.
ISIAH SIMMONS OLB/ILB
Simmons was supposed to go Top 5 in the NFL Draft, he fell to #8. The guy is a missle. When he sees his target he launches everything like a young Lawerence Taylor. Simmons is so quick no RB can out run him, and he hits so hard, no safety can hit harder. Simmons is a dangerous threat to any offensive player.
JORDAN HICKS MLB
The same Jordan Hicks that lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl win over the Patriots only two years ago. Feels like 10? Hicks comes to the Cardinals and is basically what Karlos Dansby had to be. Hicks will always lockdown the middle of the field.
THE PASS RUSH
Chandler Jones is always a threat to lead the NFL in Sacks, Devon Kennard is always a threat to get 10 Sacks in a season. Both those guys have so much speed, QBs will have to step up in the pocket quick as these guys explode from the corners.
Jordan Phillips comes over from the AFC East where he played with the Bills and Patriots. AFC East football is more physical than West Coast Football. Things just feel more laid back in places like SF and LA as far as up the middle pressure. Phillips should do well and all he needs to do is push the pocket. Huge upgrade from a year ago with Corey Peters who had that job way too long.
Last year the Cardinals started in the hole as Patrick Peterson was suspended the first 6 games! This year that is not the case and if any QB was smart, they would just avoid throwing to him no matter who their #1 WR is. The big reason for that is Byron Murphy is not a good corner at #2. The Cardinals could have been lethal had they upgraded Murphy, but they did not. Murphy is going to get a lot of tackles, but with a lot of volume can turn into a good IDP option in super deep leagues. With that being said, Murphy is going to get burned.
It remains seen what rookie is going to win the Free Saftey job, but the real star of this defense for most of last season was Buddah Baker. Buddah last season had to play more coverage than he wanted to since nobody could guard Tight Ends. With Campbell now taking care of that responsibility. Look for Buddah Baker to be a missle himself and lock on targets all season long. You can guarantee he will be on Murphy’s side of the field often. Buddah is a destroyer and he will have plenty of opportunities.
Vance Joseph has a killing machine. This team can literally destroy offenses with their speed and power. Pass Rush is insane on the edges. The pressure is great up the middle. Coverage in the short passing game is going to be on lockdown, and Patrick Peterson eliminates one side of the field.
The only way to attack the Cardinals, is to attack the opposite side of the field. Find the Free Saftey whichever rookie wins the job, go shotgun 4 wide. Overload 3 WRs the opposite of Peterson’s side, do not look at Peterson’s side of the field. Read where Buddah Baker is going, then throw it where he is not and let the rest of the secondary make plays. Running the ball will be near impossible to break any big runs at all. The second you get past the line, that mean LB core is there to meet you with Buddah Baker flying in.
Cardinals D/ST is one lethal group. Are they the group? We will find out.