What many have been saying about the Arizona Cardinals defense coming into this season is that the defense will take a step back because of the loss of Karlos Dansby, who left in free agency to the Browns, and Daryl Washington, who is suspended.
While it does make sense, being that the two of them were big playmakers that made tackles, got sacks and interceptions.
They were a big reason why the defense was ranked number one against the run. Take them away and there are questions.
Veteran Lorenzo Alexander was on Arizona Sports 98.7 on Friday and was much more optimistic.
He believes that the team will still be dominant against the run in 2014 despite the loss of Dansby and Washington and it is because of the defensive line play.
"You've go to realize you have Calais Campbell in front of you, you've got Dan (Williams) in front of you've got Alameda (Ta'amu) in front of you, you've got Dock (Darnell Dockett) in front of you, Frostee Rucker, so we have a lot of great pieces in there," Alexander explained. "That doesn't even include Matt Shaughnessy on the outside setting that edge and Sam (Acho) in there.
"Obviously we're going to miss those two guys, but I think that edge, that front five, essentially sets everything up. They're keeping blocks off of guys, allowing those guys to run. You've got a guy like Kevin Minter, a guy like myself and Larry Foote. We can run and make tackles. But think a lot of it is predicated on what those guys are able to do up front and push the pocket."
Alexander did note that they will need to get Ta'amu back healthy and see continued growth from the players and competition, but that overall the Cardinals defense is "going to be just as dominant."
Alexander is right. Dansby and Washington had it pretty easy because of the defensive line. But they are very, very good players. If Alexander is right, then we will see great tackle numbers from the inside backers in 2014.
Is Alexander right? Can the team just plug in a couple of players that are good, but not great, and have them perform at a high level and maintain the high level of performance against the run?
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