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Cardinals Notes: Wednesday 9/26

Chicago Bears v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images
  • As awful as Mike McCoy’s play call on 3rd and 2 was—-the 4th down call was equally ill-advised. To ask any QB to throw a 10 yard out pass to the slot WR from the far hashmarks in man coverage at that point in the game is never a good or smart idea. For one, slot WRs are going to be closely covered because the defense will not want to give up a quick slant. It’s another thing if they run it as a rub route with a legal pick involved, but even then there are so many safer, smarter options. Lastly, the 10 yard out pass from the far hashmark—-to have any chance—-has to be a timing pass—-meaning the QB has to throw the ball seconds before the WR makes his break. Those throws are typically very difficult because the QB is throwing to a spot without the advantage of a visible target or seeing his WR open.
  • To recap—-with the game on the line, McCoy calls two angular (east/west) plays that require picture perfect timing, while eschewing north/south options. As they say in basic mathematics, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line—-a principle that Tom Brady and the Patriots have mastered in high pressure spots for decades.
  • Here’s where it hurts to be a Cardinals’ fan—-how many of you were thinking that Rosen would get the team in FG position and have the stadium jumping for joy and then Phil Dawson would promptly miss the FG? Shades of the Patriots game in 2016—-which BA claimed took the mojo out of the team for the rest of the season. Hmmm. And the Cardinals have never been the same since, have they? Part of the reason—-Amos Jones.
  • Would it be fair at this point to say that Mike McCoy has already become the Amos Jones of this year’s team? Now that there isn’t any croneyism involved, would the Cardinals be decisive enough to move on from McCoy if his poorly conceived play calling and improper use of personnel persist?
  • On the bright side—-in addition to Patrick Peterson’s inspired play—-the Cardinals are getting impressive performances from DT Robert Nkemdiche, DT Corey Peters, LB Josh Bynes, DE Benson Mayowa and S Budda Baker. Plus, DE Chandler Jones is beginning to find his mojo in this defense. Once the coaches can get FS Tre Boston to settle down and find the right players at RCB (Bene Benwikere?) and WILB (Joe Walker?), this defense could become dynamic.
  • A key player in getting the defense to the elite level is DT Olsen Pierre—-because once the Cardinals add a consistently aggressive interior pass rush—-look out. To that end, the Cardinals claimed a rush DT Ifeadi Odenigbo who could make a splash in the nickel. Getting strong QB pressures from their 4 man line will enable the coaches to add more double coverages in the secondary, which could lead to more takeaways.
  • ILB Gerald Hodges has been an upgrade over Deone Bucannon, but recent addition Joe Walker from the Eagles could soon be the next man up if Hodges continues his inconsistent play. That—-or they could turn to Zeke Turner if and when they feel he’s ready. Tackling is Steve Wilks’ main focus—-that and multiple players getting to the ball on a dime. Hodges has flashed—-but not often enough yet.
  • The team needs T.J. Logan back—-on STs as the kickoff returner and in the offense as a key speed threat.
  • Will we finally see David Johnson in the slot this week? Running in and out of motion? That sure would get any defense’s attention.
  • Could Josh Rosen win his first start? If Mike McCoy goes with a couple packages of plays that Josh is most comfortable running—-AND—-McCoy gets Rosen and the offense to play with greater alacrity and urgency in the hurry-up—-I give him a 50/50 chance. What do you say?
  • One of the main reasons why Rosen could succeed right off the bat is WR Christian Kirk who is looking like a combination of Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. Once Kirk adds a package of double moves to his game, he now has a QB who will use his feet to buy that extra second for separation.
  • Curious too to see what kind of chemistry Josh Rosen develops with WR Larry Fitzgerald. The one bread and butter route that McCoy hasn't been calling for Larry—-#11’s patented fade route versus press coverage. That’s a ball that Rosen can throw with the best of them. High point city!