The Arizona Cardinals defense became one of the better defenses in the league statistically during the second half of the season. However, there is one area in which they did not do too well and that is in the area of forcing turnovers.
Said Ray Horton on the radio a few days ago, "We made great leaps and bounds in a number of statistical categories, but the one thing that correlates most with making the playoffs is turnover margin."
One way the team has been working on this has been in drills to improve their hands. Why? Because they dropped so many potential interceptions a season ago. Speaking with Kent Somers, Adrian Wilson said the number of drops was "staggering" and that he alone dropped six. We know that Daryl Washington dropped a couple and had one negated by a bogus penalty, but on the whole, the defense only forced 19 turnovers the entire season.
Part of the solution is knowing the defensive scheme, which a full offseason helps to accomplish. Additionally, the defensive backs coaches Louie Cioffi and assistant DeShea Townsend did drills almost daily to improve the players' hands and ball awareness.
Will it make a difference? How many interceptions do you see the team getting? With the secondary the team has and with the pressure the front seven and blitzes should produce, the number of picks should go up. Patrick Peterson should have at least four, Wilson a couple, Kerry Rhodes a couple, Daryl Washington a handful, etc.
Barring key injuries, this defense should be tremendous, although I can see a few big plays being allowed.
What are your expectations for the defense with turnovers? Why? Who will lead the team in picks? What about forced fumbles?
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