Every year Football Outsiders produces one of the must buy analytics and information based books of the year. The 2017 Football Outsiders Almanac is available for purchase now and Football Outsiders was kind enough to provide us some answers on the 2016 Arizona Cardinals and look forward to the 2017.
How big will the loss of Calais Campbell affect the Cardinals run defense?
Bryan Knowles of Football Outsiders:
Losing a top-10 run defender obviously hurts, and it's not something that's going to be able to be filled by just one guy. Corey Peters and Josh Mauro were solid in run defense, but they're just solid pieces and not a transcendent talent like Campbell is. I'll be very interested to see how Rodney Gunter steps back up after seeing his snaps drop last season. And, of course, there's Robert Nkemdiche going from 83 snaps to presumed leader of the rotation, which is nerve-wracking in and of itself.
It's going to have to be a situation where everybody in the rotation steps up to replace a fraction of Campbell's production, and someone, somewhere is likely to slip up.
There's enough talent on the defense to absorb much of Campbell's production – we still have them projected to be a top-five defense, after all – but I'd expect them to drift a bit downward from their third-ranked defensive Adjusted Line Yards from a year ago.
We’ve talked about this on the site quite a bit, so hopefully the collective is able to really establish themselves and help alleviate some of the problems that will occur with Campbell now in Jacksonville.
What do you think?