Grading the Defense: Cardinals vs Panthers

The Cardinals defense was run over by the Panthers this past Sunday and it's now their turn to be graded by the ROTB faithful. The Panthers exploited the Cardinals defense every opportunity they could, and dared the Cardinals to stop the run - the Cardinals never accepted the challenge. Even with 14 passes thrown by Jake Delhomme, the Cardinals couldn't see the run coming. Everyone in the leauge knows that DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are talented backs, but no one on the Cardinals defense wanted to recognize it. 270 rushing yards later and the Cardinals are facing the aftermath. Only time will tell if Bill Davis can get a fire burning under the defense, but they'll need to wake up quickly as they face Matt Forte next week. Let's dish out the grade.

Defensive line: The defense line can't be faulted completely, as the linebackers are equally responsible, but allowing that many rushing yards is not acceptable. Darnell Dockett suffered a strained groin early, and when the defensive line loses him or he's not playing at 100%, they can't compensate. The long 77 yard run was the biggest dagger in the heart of the offense, and the defensive line was completely pushed out of the way. The defense line failed miserably pressuring Delhomme, and one sack for the entire game on the quarterback will not get the job done.

Linebackers: Several linebackers missed very important tackles, or were blown out of big rushing plays in the first half. Karlos Dansby was a tackling machine, but it wasn't enough to stop the Panthers rushing attack. Poor tackling has to be the story of the game. DeAngelo Williams can break tackles like the best of them, but there were plenty of times were the Cardinals got to the running back and let Panthers running backs break away. The linebackers are very important to a  3-4 defense and cannot continue to play defense this way for the remainder of the season.

Defensive Backs: There's not a lot to judge the defensive backs on after the game, mainly due to the Panthers gameplan of running the ball. The defensive back's primary job all game was stopping the run once it broke through the defensive line and linebackers. The only passing touchdown given up was a sideline throw to Steve Smith, who beat cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. DRC looked like he was expecting safety help over the top, and was beat by the time the ball was released.

My Defensive Grade: D

Allowing 270 rushing yards and 34 points in one game is never a cause for celebration. The defense played a terrible game and because of their second half effort, they came away with a D. They need to focus on their opponent, and stop buying into their own hype. The Cardinals defense has enough talent to play with the best of teams, and they'll need to start showing that starting this week. What did you grade the defense and why?

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