clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Alan Ball and his Fit with the Arizona Cardinals

How does the newest Arizona Cardinals cornerback signing slot into the teams plans?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals added another veteran cornerback to their roster in Alan Ball.

Ball is a nine year veteran to the NFL and has bounced around quite a bit, since 2011 he has played for four different teams.

In 2013 Pro Football Focus loved his game and said this about Ball:

After years of being misused as a safety and slot cornerback, Bradley finally put Ball in the position that's best-suited for his skills. Ball spent 33.6% of his snaps last season lined up in press coverage, which isn't as high a rate as the Seattle cornerbacks, but still well above the league average of 27.3%.

What stands out on Ball's film is how good he uses press-bail technique to prevent deep passes. On the 15 plays he faced Deep Targets last season (passes 20+ yards past the line of scrimmage), he allowed three completions and a 36.9 passer rating.

The Arizona Cardinals like to use press technique at times and probably really like Ball's size at 6-2, but he played worse in 2014 before tearing his bicep and in 2015, his work with the Chicago Bears was... well let's Jeremy Stoltz explain.

Ball struggled with a foot injury during most of the off-season and training camp but when the regular season opened, the coaching staff inserted the club's big free-agent acquisition into the starting lineup.

He immediately went out and served up two touchdowns to Packers receiver James Jones in the regular season opener, then was torched by Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald to the tune of 8 catches for 112 yards and 3 TDs in Week 2.

Ball showed very little anticipation, field vision or awareness in man coverage, and was slow to react to balls in the air. His inability to turn and find the ball was maddening to Bears fans.
Through three starts, Ball was targeted 17 times, allowing 14 completions. Opposing quarterbacks had a 150.0 QB rating when throwing at him, which is horrendous.

As a result, Ball was benched in favor of Tracy Porter by Week 4 and served as the secondary's dime back the rest of the season, which equated to about 4-6 snaps per game.

Is Ball really an upgrade? I'm not sure based on his last two seasons that he is, but for the right price, he could be a nice player who pushes the players around him.

He also is a body for the next couple of weeks and for game one of the pre season.

I'm not sure Alan Ball is a player that makes the Arizona Cardinals roster or makes them a better team, but I am certain he is a body that understands what his job is. He can compete, he can help the younger players and he can take second half reps against the Oakland Raiders in the first pre season game.

What do you think?