The Arizona Cardinals are in a spot where they no longer have a high octane offense. Not that anyone would fault them with missing Carson Palmer, David Johnson and D.J. Humphries from the starting unit, but they are not the offensive team we saw in 2015 or the backhalf of 2016.
Which means they need their defense to carry the load, similar to the 2014 team.
The problem has become, they don’t have the ability to do that either.
Since their overtime win against the San Francisco 49ers on October 1st, the Cardinals have given up 34 points, 33 points, 33 points, 10 points, 22 points and then 31 points to the Tom Savage-led Houston Texans.
That is an average of 27 points per game given up. It is no wonder why they are 2-4 over that time span.
What has happened to the Arizona Cardinals defense?
That’s the question and I am not sure there is a clear answer.
They clearly lost too much talent in free agency, Calais Campbell, Alex Okafor, D.J. Swearinger and Tony Jefferson were the big names lost. Yet not having a recplacement in house for Marcus Cooper, really, Bethel again, drafting another inside linebacker early then switching his spot because a lack of depth at outside linebacker.
They were not prepared to absorb the loss Calais Campbell up front. While you can’t replace a Campbell type of player with just one player, there was no way to expect a bunch of young guys drafted late in the draft or with little NFL experience to lean on. Then, their anchor in the middle, Corey Peters, is out and the run defense just gets gashed.
While James Bettcher has had his struggles, the whole team and staff has, the question about the make up of the defense is a fair one.
Can they find a way to get back on track? They have six days to get something on the books against a team in the Jacksonville Jaguars who you know what they are going to do.
They’re going to run the ball and dare you to stop them.
Will they be ready?