The Arizona Cardinals were forced to move down the depth chart on Sunday with the team's defensive line. They were without a starter and two key reserves, as Frostee Rucker, Cory Redding and Ed Stinson were all inactive because of injury. The result was a performance head coach Bruce Arians wasn't thrilled about.
Speaking with the media on Monday, Arians pointed out how Calais Campbell did not play well, saying he thought Campbell "had another very poor to average game." Campbell only had three tackles in the game and was was noticeably not dominant. It is telling how Arians used the word "another." Clearly the coach expects a lot out of his captain.
Arians also said rookie Rodney Gunter "looked like a rookie for the first time."
Josh Mauro, who started in place of the injured Rucker, "did not have his normal game," said Arians. In his playing time, he did not manage to log a single tackle or create a single disruption of Blaine Gabbert.
Arians did praise undrafted Xavier Williams and newly signed veteran Red Bryant. Pro Football Focus graded Williams well, giving him a +1.6 for the game. Bryant "had no mental errors and was the most physical guy on the field," Arians said.
Of course, one must remember a guy like Mauro, who has been outstanding in his limited role in nickel sets, was playing a different role. There was naturally going to be a dropoff in play, especially when replacing a guy like Rucker, who has played so well the past two seasons as a starter.
It is clear Rucker's absence negatively affects the line play. But missing two other rotational players made things worse.
Williams and Bryant did well, but other than them, "it wasn't our best game up front."