When the Arizona cardinals take the field on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings on defense, they have an automatic advantage, and their names are Chandler Jones and Markus Golden.
After years of manufacturing a pass rush using blitzes and a combination of players, the Cardinals have 13 sacks from their two outside linebackers.
This is what makes the Arizona Cardinals start to the 2016 season so hard to understand. After years of dominance along the front seven in the run game, the need to address the pass rush was obvious. Yet, after drafting Markus Golden in 2015 and then using a 2016 second round pick on Chandler Jones, the pass rush is fixed. Except, it has not translated to wins, probably why Edge Rusher Winz is not a thing.
The Vikings meanwhile make the Arizona Cardinals losses along the offensive line look light.
Last Sunday, against the Washington Redskins, the Vikings allowed three sacks of Sam Bradford, despite moving to a less deep passing oriented offense.
Then, on top of that, Jake Long, their left tackle for only four games, is now out for the season. While Long’s days of being a dominant left tackle were past, he was still one of the better options on the roster.
That means the Arizona Cardinals will take on human turnstile T.J. Clemmings or veteran guard moved to left tackle Alex Boone as the left tackle this weekend.
As Cardinals fans, having Clemmings at left tackle would have Chandler Jones licking his chops, from Daily Norsemen:
At this point, I guess, the Vikings could do worse than moving Boone to left tackle. I certainly don’t want to see T.J. Clemmings back there again, as he’s probably better suited for the right side (and, honestly, I’m not sure he’s better suited to be a guard than a tackle, but that’s another debate).
No matter who is manning left tackle, the Cardinals should have a decided advantage, now they have to make the Vikings pay.