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NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Background: Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end Zach Allen (94) blocks a pass against Philadelphia Eagles guard Nate Herbig (67) at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas

Matt Burke, the Arizona Cardinals new defensive line coach, is creating a volleyball team of pass swatters, as evidenced by this brilliantly timed leap with his hands high in the air by J.J. Watt. Watt was able to deflect Baker Mayfield’s timing throw into the hands of teammate Dennis Gardeck for the interception which helped to seal up the Cardinals 26-16 come from behind win at Bank of America Stadium.

This is why some NFL pundits and fans call the Cardinals’ #99 JJ SWATT

Fun fact: of all current NFL defensive linemen JJ SWATT’s 66 career pass deflections is 2nd to Carlos Dunlop’s 69. Jason Pierre-Paul is 3rd with 61 and Calais Campbell is 4th with 56.


For pass rushers the rule of thumb is —- if you can’t get all the way to the QB, then get your big ol’ mitts up to swat the football.

To coin a Van Halen classic: YOU MIGHT AS WELL JUMP

I have always felt like the Cardinals pass rushers could do more to heed this rule of thumb —- and now, thanks to JJ Watt and Zach Allen the Cardinals are making these volleyball leaps an NFL art form.

The Emergence of Baby SWATT!

Run stops like this one from Zach Allen are pretty special:

Check out this series of efforts:

The Zach Sack:

Per ESPN: Updated Pass Rush Win Rate %:

Team pass rush win rate

1. Dallas Cowboys, 56%

2. Miami Dolphins, 53%

3. Arizona Cardinals, 52%

4. Jacksonville Jaguars, 51%

5. Buffalo Bills, 50%

6. Philadelphia Eagles, 49%

7. Kansas City Chiefs, 48%

8. Washington Commanders, 47%

9. Green Bay Packers, 46%

10. Las Vegas Raiders, 46%

11. Seattle Seahawks, 45%

12. Los Angeles Rams, 45%

13. San Francisco 49ers, 44%

14. Cincinnati Bengals, 44%

15. Denver Broncos, 43%

16. Cleveland Browns, 42%

17. Baltimore Ravens, 42%

18. New York Giants, 41%

19. Houston Texans, 41%

20. Los Angeles Chargers, 41%

21. Chicago Bears, 39%

22. New York Jets, 38%

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 38%

23. Tennessee Titans, 38%

25. Indianapolis Colts, 37%

26. Pittsburgh Steelers, 36%

27. New England Patriots, 36%

28. Carolina Panthers, 35%

29. Atlanta Falcons, 33%

30. Minnesota Vikings, 32%

31. Detroit Lions, 31%

32. New Orleans Saints, 25%

Arizona Cardinals Pass Rush 2022: per NFL Rankings

  • 2nd in QB hurries % (12.9%)
  • 3rd in Pass Rush Win Rate % (52%)
  • 4th in QB hurries (19)
  • 9th in QB Knockdowns (15)
  • 11th in QB pressures (38)
  • 32nd in Sacks (4)


The Sultans of SWATT

Imagine how Matt Burke could assemble this volleyball team of pass SWATTERS:

  • JJ Watt: 6-5, 34” arms, 37” vertical
  • Zach Allen: 6-4, 34 3/4” arms, 32” vertical
  • Isaiah Simmons: 6-4, 33 2/3” arms, 39” vertical
  • Myjai Sanders: 6-5, 32 5/8” arms, 33” vertical

Oh, and then, how about sending this guy on a blitz:

  • Zaven Collins: 6-4, 33 5/8” arms, 35” vertical

After all, pass deflections increase the chances of a defender finding a way to reverse the script and be the one to SPIKE the football in the end zone.

That, and scooped up TD runs off of strip sacks —- which if the Cardinals pass rushers start “getting home”, could make the Cardinals 2022 Valleyballers a stunning success.