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Talking Cardinals with Kollmann

Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

If you are one of the more skeptical or even one of the most optimistic Cardinals’ fans heading into this season, put on your seatbelt, because this one hour plus interview with Brett Kollmann is an exhilarating ride.

In case you missed my preview article about Brett Kollmann’s recent “Worst to First” video about the Cardinals’ defense under Vance Joseph, do yourself the favor and watch it in its splendid entirety.

Here is what Brett had to say about:

The Defensive Interior:

“ I like the moves the Cardinals made in adding Jordan Phillips, Leki Fotu and Rashard Lawrence to Corey Peters and Zach Allen.”

Haason Reddick:

  • “Was not a good, natural fit at WILB.”
  • “Only rare players can make the transition from college edge to NFL inside linebacker—-like Teddy Bruschi did.”
  • “Fits Vance Joseph’s defense at SAM OLB, and should have been switched there earlier last year once it was clear (after about 4 games) that Chandler Jones would have been much better off not playing the SAM OLB, but playing the WILL instead (where Terrell Suggs was playing), so that he didn’t have to drop into coverage as much.”
  • “Reddick was a liability at ILB, but not at SAM.” (see Seahawks game at Seattle)
  • “Because he has the speed to cover RBs like Christian McCaffrey, etc., he’s an asset in coverage from the edge, but not from inside on TEs.”
  • “I think it’s likely that Reddick will start at SAM in the base defense because he’s better in coverage than Devon Kennard, but Kennard will get more of the snaps as the nickel rusher opposite Chandler Jones.”
  • “Last year Vance Joseph used Cassius Marsh to rush from the inside on nickel downs and also serve as a QB spy and thus look for Reddick and Isaiah Simmons to take over that role this year.”

Two Biggest Concerns:

  • 1-”Robert Alford getting hurt and not feeling 100% about Dre Kirkpatrick (more on him later).”
  • 2-”Jordan Hicks in pass coverage where he gets beat a lot.”

De’Vondre Campbell

  • “I see him as the starter at WILB (“MO”) in the base defense, with Simmons being the nickel LB in sub packages, and Jordan Hicks playing the MLB (“MIKE”) in both the base and nickel.”

Isaiah Simmons

  • “Last year you had no one who could cover TEs except maybe Budda Baker, but he got pushed around some by George Kittle. Now, with Simmons you guys can cover the TEs and he can impact games in a multitude of ways.”

Evan Weaver

  • “They are grooming him at MIKE behind Hicks.”
  • “If Hicks goes down, don’t worry. With Evan Weaver behind him, you guys are fine.”

Cardinals’ Linebackers

  • “This is the 1st time in ages that the Cardinals are actually deep at LB.”

The Late TD at SF where Jimmy G. read the blitz (inside from Budda Baker) and threw an easy TD over the middle to RB Jeff Wilson, Jr. (Note—-when I asked him about this, Brett was able to cue the pay up in about a minute’s time).

  • “It was first down and never a good time to call “0” coverage (no FS in the middle).”
  • “Chandler Jones was on a ‘peel alert’—-if the RB blocks, Jones rushes, if the RB runs a route, he covers—-and Jones is not the guy to use on a peel alert—-it should have been Reddick.”
  • “You guys were in the top 10 of 4 man rush pressures—-not sure why you had to blitz there.”

On the 3 blown 3rd downs late in the 4th quarter at home versus the 49ers.

  • “Total lack of zone awareness.”
  • “Bryon Murphy did not close his space at all.”
  • “Bad eye discipline from Kevin Peterson and then Patrick Peterson—-you have to play the receiver first and carry the coverage through.”
  • “49ers’ receivers like Samuel and Sanders are always taught to adjust their routes—-so when the CBs didn’t chase well enough they could just find the one spots to sit in.”
  • “These 3rd down plays, all of them 9 plus yards, should have been stops.”

Dre Kirkpatrick

  • “Played the nickel at Cincy—-not sure if he will do that in Arizona or he if will go back to the boundary so that Byron Murphy can stay in the slot.”
  • “Can play both slot and boundary and he knows the system having played for Vance.”

Byron Murphy

  • “Made numerous mistakes on the boundary. My goodness, he gave up 10 TDs and 9 penalties.”
  • “Was thinking too much. He played the boundary very well at Washington, but he knew their system.”
  • “He’s a little more comfortable in the slot because he has inside help and he can make quicker adjustments on the ball.”

Patrick Peterson

  • “Hold on to him for another year—-he’s the only good cover CB you have.”
  • “He came back slow from the suspension because he hadn’t bought in yet to Kingsbury and the defense.”
  • “But when he started to see the offense taking off with Kyler Murray at QB and then when Terrell Suggs was released, he realized that the team was holding all players accountable, he started to buy in.”
  • “It’s no coincidence that Peterson only gave up, what, 90 yards over his last three games once Suggs was let go.”
  • “When Pat P. buys in, he’s elite.”
  • “He sees that this year the Cardinals have a chance to be real good.”

Chris Jones

  • “He was the only CB I saw applying consistent coverage and was surprised they cut him and then wondered why is he on the practice squad?”

Budda Baker

  • “Love him at FS (or “week safety—-however you want to call it”) because in that position where he can still play the run 10-15 yards from the box and the cutback lane is HIS at FS.”
  • “He’s the best safety in the NFL at meeting the RB in the cutback lane.”
  • “Plus, once Chandler Jones was finally moved to the WILL OLB, he knew he could lose contain at times because Budda had him covered.”
  • “The way Vance Jospeh’s defense works, everything get funneled toward Budda Baker.”

Chandler Jones

  • “Would have broken the sack record had he played WILL OLB.”

Jalen Thompson

  • “Much better than Swearinger.”
  • “Made a great play in Cover 3 at Seattle where he was one step away from getting a pick six off of Russell Wilson.”
  • “If he triggers a little quicker this season and develops a little more confidence, he is going to make some big plays.”

Deionte Thompson

  • “Playing for Nick Saban at Alabama gives him a good head start because Vance Joseph uses a lot of Saban’s principles, schemes and coverages.”

Note—-at this point we had been on the phone for about an hour and I didn’t want to take up too much more of Brett’s time—-thus, I asked him if he would just offer us a few thoughts about Kliff Kingsbury’s offense and what to expect in year two. Here is what he said:

Josh Jones

  • “I was amazed that the Cardinals were able to draft Josh Jones in the 3rd round. This was about the luckiest thing to happen for the Cardinals in a long time—-that and the DeAndre Hopkins trade.”
  • “I was at the Senior Bowl and I was certain that Jones was going to be a 1st round pick because he was crushing guys all day in the passing rushing drills. He only got beat once all week ands that was on a speed rush by Josh Uche.”
  • “He is an outstanding pass protector and having him will enable the offense to go with fewer 6 man protections—-which, in turn, will enable Kyler Murray to throw more the RBs out of the backfield behind the “4 verticals”—-and will allow him to throw more deep passes to the 4 verts this year.”

The OL

  • “It’s solid enough now to allow the offense to use more 5 man protections.”
  • “The biggest hole is perhaps J.R. Sweezy, but he might be fine.”

Kyler Murray

  • “He threw a higher percentage of screens (18%) than any QB last year—-and with stronger protection this year, that is about to change.”
  • “To me, Kyler is already a top 6-7 QB—-he has the whole package. Keep him upright and let him deal.”

DeAndre Hopkins

  • “If his hamstring is healthy, I believe that he is the best WR in the NFL. No CB can cover him one on one and Kyler Murray throws the best fade pass in the NFL, a pattern that Hopkins aces because of his outstanding ball skills.”
  • “He is exactly what the Cardinals need—-a good “X” WR who can consistently beat his man and win 50/50 balls.”
  • “He should be playing in Arizona a long time, gaining 1,400 yards a year and tons of first downs.”
  • “The best fit imaginable for this offense.”
  • “He plays hurt a lot, which is why he misses practices—-but he always plays through it—-he’s a tough dude.”

Note: at this point I asked Brett why he left NFL Network.

NFL Network

  • “I was at NFL Network for 5 years, first as an intern, and then as a production assistant where I performed edits, created highlight vids and did prep work.”
  • “After I began my website and started making my videos, my wife said, you already have 11,000 subscribers, imagine what you could do if you did this full time.”
  • “I’ve gotten some interest about coaching and I have always been interested in that, but it would take a lot to get me away from what I am doing right now.”
  • “My last day at NFL Network was the day before the Pats/Falcons Super Bowl and I have to say yes, I am now working my dream job.”

One fan on Brett’s “Worst to First” video called this analysis his “Magnus Opus.”

When I asked him about that and echoed what the fan had written—-Brett said:

“Well it should have been because I have never spent more time making a video.”

“In fact, the two videos that have taken me the longest time are both Cardinals videos!”