If I told you that the Arizona Cardinals defense would be one of the worst pass-rushing units through four games this season, you'd probably believe me. That doesn't change the fact that this lack of a pass rush is hindering the defense entirely.
Without a good pass rush, opposing quarterbacks can tee off on the secondary. This season the Cardinals have allowed 233 passing yards per game and seven passing touchdowns. If the pass game is flourishing, the opposition can open up the run. The defense has allowed the third most rushing yards, at 155 per game. With teams throwing and passing at will, it should come at no surprise that the Cardinals are allowing 29.5 points per game, good for 31st in the league.
Last season the defense compiled 43 sacks, with nine players holding two or more. This year seven Cardinals have only one. It's safe to say that the Cardinals' defense has seen better days, it's figuring out who's fault it is that becomes the dilemma.
Defensive coordinator Bill Davis is the first culprit that comes to mind as the main reason the defense has suffered. His schemes haven't worked in any scenario presented, and as we all know, he can be predictable. He wasn't highly touted coming to Arizona and no one was jubilant when he was promoted to coordinator. That makes it even more bewildering that he's kept his job this far. By any means, he's a Ken Whisenhunt-guy, who was brought aboard and then promoted. That should tell you that his job security is relatively safe for now. It's a matter of how long his piss-poor defense will continue before Whisenhunt finally raises an eyebrow.
As many experts know however, it often comes down to leadership and talent that makes up a good defense. Adrian Wilson and Darnell Dockett are leaders, but have only accounted for two combined sacks. Wilson played the worst game of his career this past Sunday in a blowout loss to the Chargers. Dockett has seen the most double teams then ever before, due to his loud persona and the new contract extension he recently received. The double teams will effect his numbers, making the opportunity sweater for someone else. Calais Campbell could've been that player. He was counted on to lead the blitz this season, but to date he's been silenced with only 1 sack. The leaders on the defense haven't done their part.
Kerry Rhodes, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Dan Williams, Joey Porter, and the aforementioned Dockett, Campbell, and Wilson make the Cardinals defense one of the most talented in the league. Porter was the big acquisition of the summer, but he hasn't been a factor as of yet. If these players can't step up, then someone else will. The problem the Cardinals face, is that no one appears ready. Will Davis hasn't had any significant playing time. Fourth round draft pick and college pass rush specialist O'Brien Schofield began his NFL career on the Cardinals' PUP list. Clearly the Cardinals' defense is climbing an uphill battle at this point.
For years the Cardinals have always possessed Pro Bowl talent throughout the defense. Cardinals' fans have seen the potential, yet somehow, blowouts have always been a part of their schedule. It may be a lack of chemistry or it could just be terrible coaching. With twelve games left in the season, it's pretty hard to imagine someone not getting replaced somewhere down the line.