The Cardinals Defense of 2013... For Better or Worse?

USA TODAY Sports

It's been made that the Cardinals Defense suffered a massive hit this offseason due to our loss of talent.

If there was any positive from the 2012 season it was that of the Defense. Under Ray Hortons supervision the team that suffered sub-par defensive production to start 2011, was a dominant force from the end of 2011 to the end of 2012. But with a regime change, Ray Horton was let go, and many began to speculate that the defense we knew, was no more. I know there are those of you who doubt we will be productive on Defense, and I value your opinion, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Whilst we may not have signed this large named players, Sean Smith to be one, the team has added valuable depth, enough so to create safety nets. The front 3 are kept intact, but the backers were shaken up a bit and the secondary was basically replaced. Does increased depth, mean better production? In my book it does, but that differs for others. Unfortunately, I lack the ability to get these "Advanced" stats because most sites require a fee... Of which I lack the funds to pay for... Thus, you guys get my opinions on these changes, and no stats to back it up as of now. You can expect a post before the Preseason of stats to backup my opinions, however.

D-Line: (2012)

Calais Campbell Dan Williams Darnell Dockett
Vonnie Holliday David Carter Nick Eason
Ronald Talley Ricky Lumpkin Ronald Talley

Additions: Everrette Thompson, Padric Scott, Matt Shaugnessy & Frostee Rucker

Notes: The top three guys remain the same, but we replaced aging vets with younger guys. While neither Shaugnessy and Rucker having played in a 3-4 scheme, they provide depth that they can come fill in when Dockett and Campbell need breathers. The Cardinals are still looking at other options, most noted former Saints DT, Sedrick Ellis. Thompson is a long shot to make the roste, but Padric Scott could sneak in there somehow.

Linebackers: (2012)

Sam Acho Daryl Washington Paris Lenon O'Brien Schofield
Zach Nash Stewart Bradley Reggie Walker Quentin Groves

Additions: Lorenzo Alexander (OLB), Daniel Giordano (OLB), Kenny Demens (ILB), Kevin Minter (ILB), Jasper Brinkely (ILB), Karlos Dansby (ILB), Korey Jones (ILB), Alex Okafor (OLB)

Notes: Paris Lenon was the starter for three years in Arizona, following the departure of Karlos Dansby. His play fell considerably in 2012, but due to Ray Hortons love for him, he remained the starter opposite of Daryl Washington. Bradley was given a massive contract and didn't even play up to it, sitting behind Lenon, and ultimately Reggie Walker in 2012. Quentin Groves was an amazing tale in Arizona. An outcast in Oakland, he came to the desert seeking rebirth and found it. It was unlikely that he would remain in Arizona, following Ray Hortons departure for the Cleveland Browns. We replaced him with Lorenzo Alexander, a stop gap and an upgrade over the continuously injured O'Brien Schofield, until 4th round selection Alex Okafor is ready to go. Jasper Brinkley, Karlos Dansby, and Kevin Minter, are all immediate upgrades over Paris Lenon, and the duo of Dansby and Brinkley is dangerous until Daryl Washington can return.

Defensive Backs: (2012)

Patrick Peterson (Starter) Adrian Wilson (Starter) Kerry Rhodes (Starter)
William Gay (Starter) James Sanders Rashad Johnson
Jamell Flemming
Greg Toler
Michael Adams
Justin Bethel


Additions: Javon Harris (S), Tyrann Mathieu (S), Yeremiah Bell (S), Jonathon Amaya (S), Curtis Taylor (S), Tony Jefferson (S), Jerraud Powers (CB), Javier Arenas (CB), Antoine Cason (CB), Bryan McCann (CB)

Notes: The loss of Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes were significant, but the loss of Wilson isn't fixable. Johnson was already filling in for Wilson much of the latter half of the season, following A-Dub's demotion. We knew the end was coming and questioned whether a release was inevitable. Bell is a downgrade from Rhodes by far, and possibly only a first half starter, until Tony Jefferson, Tyrann Mathieu, or even Javon Harris are ready to go.

As for the Cornerbacks, , Gay was continuously maligned by Cardinal fans, allowing vast chunks of yards on almost every other pass, so the acquisition of Powers and Cason is an upgrade. Toler was a very productive player... When he played. Last year he made an appearance in 11 games, and is known for his miraculous fumble recovery before it goes out of bounds, and his 102 yard INT return touchdown. His injury problems caused the team to move on from him. Adams was small but he played with an intensity. He was a Whisenhunt favorite, thus why he remained on the roster till this year. Sanders was unlikely to return, even if Whisenhunt remained in the desert.

So... Here are updated graphs of the 2013 Rosters....

D-Line: (2013)

Calais Campbell Dan Williams Darnell Dockett
Matt Shaugnessy David Carter Frostee Rucker
Everrette Thompson Ricky Lumpkin/Padric Scott Ronald Talley

Linebackers: (2013)

Lorenzo Alexander Daryl Washington Karlos Dansby Sam Acho
O'Brien Schofield Kevin Minter Jasper Brinkley Alex Okafor
Daniel Giordano Reggie Walker Korey Jones Zach Nash

Defensive Backs: (2013)

Patrick Peterson Rashad Johnson
Yeremiah Bell
Jerraud Powers Jonathan Amaya
Tyrann Mathieu
Antoine Cason Tony Jefferson
Javon Harris
Jamel Flemming Curtis Taylor
Javier Arenas
Bryan McCann
Justin Bethel

I also wanted to target a statement made in another post, stating something that our LB corps isn't as good as advertised. We have three veterans who posted big numbers last year. Daryl Washington 134 tackles, Karlos Dansby 134 tackles, and Jasper Brinkley with 99. We added two rookies who ended their collegiate careers on solid notes, Okafor with his record breaking Alamo Bowl, and Kevin Minter with 130 tackles. We bolstered our depth at the position, and created a safety net in case Washington's legal issues continue. We have pieces to push Schofield and Acho to quickly develop and make plays.

Essentially what will matter is how quickly will the players buy into Todd Bowles scheme. On paper we seem to be deep, and stacked with talent, but we have yet to see the cohesiveness. Everything falls onto Bowles shoulders to put together and bolster the defense. No matter how much talent we have, it all depends on whether or not the players will rally to his call.

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