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Cardinals’ Defense can only be as good as its leader

Vance Joseph and his 31st-ranked defense enter the bye week in hopes of correcting their mistakes

Arizona Cardinals v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals offense has drastically improved this season thanks to head coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray. No one could have ever expected this type of performance considering the Cardinals ranked last in all offensive categories in 2018.

Despite the impressiveness of the offense, the Cardinals defense remains one of the worst in the NFL. They are currently allowing an average of 28.8 points and 415.2 total yards, which are ranked 29th and 31st respectively. In the last three games, the Cardinals were in positions to win but the lack of discipline of the defense put Kyler Murray in a position to fail. The defensive struggles are the main reasons why the Cardinals are sitting at 3-7-1 instead of 6-4-1.

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is the leader of the Cardinals defense. The switch back to a 3-4 scheme was supposed to be the answer to their defensive woes. Unfortunately, his unit has been disappointing. Time and time again, the world has seen the Cardinals’ top pass rusher Chandler Jones tasked to drop back in coverage at the worst times. Linebacker Jordan Hicks has been used in man coverage against a receiver. Players have been jumping offsides or are in the neutral zone in back-to-back plays, which speaks volumes with the leadership. Things that should not have happened actually happened.

It is not like Joseph has no talent to work with. Budda Baker, Jordan Hicks, Chandler Jones, Byron Murphy, Corey Peters, and Terrell Suggs have all played really well in spite of the overall struggles of the defensive unit. Rookie Jalen Thompson was considered a steal in the supplemental draft and he started to prove that after nabbing his first interception of his career last weekend. After the season, the Cardinals will have to decide whether Patrick Peterson should remain on the team as he has a $13.1 million cap hit in 2020. What is very unfortunate about the team is a lot of players here are performing well individually but not collectively. The defense either starts slow, fades down the stretch, or struggles from start to finish.

In fairness to Vance Joseph, this is his first year with the Cardinals. All teams that go through a rebuilding phase go through rough stretches as they are in right now. He still needs more talent to work with and more time for his players to fully comprehend his defensive playbook. To fire Joseph this season is not guaranteed to fix anything. If the defensive problems continue into the 2020 league year, conversations about his potential departure should happen then. For now, he will be the defensive coordinator for the remainder of the 2019 season.


Should Vance Joseph remain as the Cardinals defensive coordinator in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Yes, he should have one more season to prove himself
    (105 votes)
  • 40%
    No, he should be fired after the season
    (120 votes)
  • 23%
    No, fire him now!
    (68 votes)
293 votes total Vote Now