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Arizona Cardinals: Wednesday 9/19 Notes

NFL: Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • Still having problems understanding why one of the Cardinals’ toughest, most physical players in FB Elijhaa Penny will now be blocking for RB Saquon Barkley. Ron Wolfley loves Penny and rightfully so. Curious that a head coach who preaches that the players have “physicality in their DNAs” would overlook Penny—-not just as to what he brings as a blocker and power runner, but as the team’s second leading STs tacklers last year (11)—-ranked 21st in the NFL. Penny deserves better and now he’s a New York Giant.
  • A couple of South Florida Bulls could be making a splash on the Cardinals’ defense in the weeks ahead. CB Deatrich Nichols is a baller and should be a stronger option at RCB than Jamar Taylor. Plus, the Cardinals just signed LB Nigel Harris, Nichols’ former teammate, to the practice squad. Harris was a tackling machine at South Florida.
  • Wouldn’t it be classic Cardinals to learn that QB Sam Bradford has been nursing a sore shoulder or elbow the past couple of weeks? Bradford has every incentive in the world not to say anything about it—-(1) he doesn’t want to lose his starting job this quickly into the season; (2) he doesn’t want to perpetuate the perception that he is ailing physically; (3) each game he is active this year, he makes an added $312,500 per game. Bradford, as some of you have pointed out, looks like he is laboring, particularly on his rare throws beyond 10 yards.
  • How many of you wanted to scream at the computer when you heard Steve Wilks say that he thinks Sam Bradford “is playing well”? How about when Wilks said he didn't even think of putting in Josh Rosen on Sunday because he didn't think “one guy could make a difference”? Wilks is losing valuable credibility with each press conference. His babying and back burnering of Josh Rosen is ridiculous. And here is a coach who preaches that the best players play. A QB cannot get any worse that what Sam Bradford has been bringing to the table—-as in ZERO, NADA, NOTHING. And Wilks doesn’t even think of Rosen when Bradford is a 3 and out machine? When Bradford gutlessly keeps throwing 5 yard passes on 3rd and 8?
  • Isn’t it amazing that Kent Somers and other top writers for the Cardinals are writing articles in week 3 about how the Cardinals should use RB David Johnson as both a RB and WR?
  • What is Steve Wilks going to do about his swiss cheese pass coverage? This was my biggest worry when Wilks was hired—-it takes the right kind of pass rush and highly trained athletes to play effective zone coverage in the NFL. I was thinking this week that maybe he should at least put Pat Peterson on the best WR and man him up, and then play zone with the other players.
  • Should Wilks take over the play calling of the defense until the unit is settled down? Why is he not playing more press coverage? Why are so many receivers wide open? Why are easy completions made on 3rd downs to extend drives?
  • With Benson Mayowa playing the run better than any DE (69.8 PFF grade) and with Markus Golden returning, should they consider playing Mayowa and Golden on running downs and bring in Chandler Jones (56.3 PFF grade) on passing downs? The coaches have to get Jones on track any way they can.
  • Do you know which Cardinals’ defensive player has the highest PFF grade? It might surprise you. It’s LB Haason Reddick (85.3), who is making the most of his limited snaps and playing well on STs. For a team that is having trouble in pass coverage, Reddick’s athleticism is an asset.
  • Do you know which Cardinals’ offensive lineman has the highest PFF grade? Here are the grades after 2 weeks: Humphries (51.9); Iupati (46.0), Cole (57.6), Pugh (53.7) and Wetzel (68.5). Notice that Wetzel and Cole have the highest grades. As crazy as this sounds—-these grades are actually improvements over last year’s grades—-and to be fair—-the offensive line has played versus a good Redskins’ front 4 and an elite Rams’ front 4. Also, it doesn’t help their grades when the Cardinals’ OC is running inside runs on running downs into loaded boxes. And that the Cardinals are facing a high number 3rd and longs on passing downs. Playing the Bears’ defensive front this week is yet another big challenge.
  • The other above average PFF grades thus far: LB Josh Bynes (77.8), CB Patrick Peterson (79.5), WR Larry Fitzgerald (76.4).
  • Kudos to Antoine Bethea who played very well at FS last year and is now being used as a box S/LB. This guy, as Pat Tillman would say, is a “flat-out f’n baller.”
  • I just wish the Cardinals would be getting better play from FS Tre’ Boston (50.8 PFF grade), who thus far has been a step late in finishing off plays. I like the speedy, aggressive play we have seen in limited action from Rudy Ford and wonder if he can earn more playing time.
  • Special kudos to Patrick Peterson who is embracing his new role as a force the run, zone CB. Peterson’s leadership is one of the golden keys to turning this season around.
  • We should know right away if the Cardinals defense is prepared to play the Bears if they are ready to defend their misdirection plays. if they lose contain as easily as they did versus the Redskins and don’t have their coverage assignments set and locked in, it could be a repeat of what we saw at home in week 1.