For the Arizona Cardinals, there have been a multitude of factors contributing to them currently holding a 3-4-1 record. The offense has not been nearly as lethal this season, especially on Bruce Arians' patented deep attacks. Injuries have begun to mount up, hindering both sides of the ball from playing to their full potential. And, simply put, key players are not playing as well this year as they have in the past. One of those guys is "moneybacker" Deone Bucannon.
Bucannon spent extra time in the weight room this past offseason, bulking up to handle the rigors of playing linebacker knowing that this was now for sure going to be his position of play. But adding that extra weight doesn't seem to have added any extra benefit. In fact, it may be hindering him from making the explosive plays that we are accustomed to seeing from him.
Before the current season, Bucannon was a lethal blitzer, charging through the A-gap to make a tackle on running backs behind the line of scrimmage or getting a sack on the opposing QB. His speed and ability to get skinny made it difficult for offensive linemen to get a chance to block him.
Granted, Bucannon is on track to log about the same amount of tackles this season as he did in 2015. But so far, he has no sacks, no forced fumbles and no interceptions. Creating turnovers had become a staple of his game and it created opportunities for the Cardinals to take advantage of to win games. Now, without those turnovers and big plays coming from him, there is a gap on the defense that nobody seems able to fill.
So what is wrong with Bucannon? We know he has the talent, as we have seen him excel before. Is the defense run by James Bettcher simply not catering to his skill set as much? Was the weight gain not an advantageous thing for Bucannon? Or is he simply just having a down year?
Hopefully we can start getting some answers -- or see some turnaround -- following the bye week.