When Ray Horton was hired as defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals, he made a promise that the first defensive play in 2011 would have a blitz. According to a breakdown of how effective the blitz was for the different NFC West teams put together by Mike Sando, ESPN NFC West blogger, this might prove to be a very wise choice. After the jump explains more.
In 2010, the Cardinals were the second most effective team in their division when they sent at least five pass rushers. The St. Louis Rams were slightly more effective.
On pass plays in which the Cardinals sent no more than four after the quarterback, their opponents completed over 65 percent of their passes and scored 10 TDs. The Cardinals managed 16 sacks when sending four or less defenders. Their opponents' passer rating was 87.0.
When they blitzed, it was much better. The allowed two more touchdowns (12), but their opponents completed less that 54 percent of their passes, were sacked 17 times had a passer rating of 77.5.
With Horton's system, we are expecting the blitz to be an integral part of the Cardinals' new defense. Since it was an effective tool in 2010 in a bad defense, hopefully it can continue and thus improve the defense's play.
We all know that a better pass rush creates more turnovers and makes the secondary better. Let's hope that this holds true and maybe, just maybe, the Arizona defense will actually stop teams in 2011.