Allow me to begin by saying that, in my opinion, which I believe is shared by thousands of other NFL fans, Brian Baldinger’s weekly film breakdowns which he posts on Twitter are an absolute treasure.
I would also like to add my appreciation to Baldy for giving the Cardinals, for good or bad, a significant deal of his time and effort.
HERE COMES A GAME CHANGER:
Such was the case this week, as Baldy kicked off his Cardinals coverage with this inside look at the Cardinals defense and the aspects of it that Baldy believes are highly commendable:
.@AZCardinals @ZavenCollins @KyzirWhite8 @DGardeck &Co all played hard. Aggressive. Made life tough on @Commanders No one can complain about the #AZC EFFORT. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/zYJLWHRpM7— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 14, 2023
- Zaven Collins —- interception
- Kyzir White —- speed to the ball with finishing power and pop
- Dennis Gardeck —- being no match for a TE in pass pro and his lightning quick spin move that, as Baldy said, was a “game changer”.
As most fans know, Baldy doesn’t just hunt and seek for the outstanding plays —- when he sees a critical error, he is quick to point it out —- as he was on this bizarre gaffe by the Cardinals’ defense, which fortunately didn’t turn out as costly as it could have:
.@AZCardinals v @Commanders NOBODY….like NOBODY notices that there are only 10 men on DEFENSE…Played hard…did a lot of good things but my gosh….give yourself a chance. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/0MxOuUTeNB— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 14, 2023
What’s so odd about this gaffe is how Kyzir White, our captain with the green dot, is lined up right over where the missing player should have been, and yet, doesn’t somehow recognize the error, pre-snap, when he could have called a timeout. The Cardinals played decent pass coverage despite the missing lineman, which helped them minimize the potential damage that the error could have caused.
HOLLYWOOD KEYSTONE COPS PLAY BY DESIGN?
At first, I was sure this was a classic mix-up in the backfield, but the more I watched this video, while listening to Baldy’s commentary, I wonder if Baldy might be on to something, especially because of how the Cardinals wound up getting perfect lead blocking on the end around for Holywood Brown.
HOW HOWELL PREVAILED:
Have to give a ton of credit to the Commanders’ 2nd year QB Sam Howell for his remarkable resiliency in a game where he made some big mistakes and absorbed a number of powerful hits.
If you watch these plays a few times, the most impressive Cardinals’ defender was Kyzir White and the two most un-impressive players were:
- Josh Woods (#10 —- PFF Grade: 25.9) —- winding up repeatedly in “no man’s land” while losing coverage on his man who caught the TD.
- Carlos Watkins (#64 —- PFF Grade: 50.8) —- not keeping his outside shoulder free on the biggest pass rush of the game and then, even worse, drifting to the inside which further created the gaping hole for Josh Howell to escape through on the path to his game winning scrambling TD,. Note too that Marco Wilson and Josh Woods were way too slow to react to the scramble, as both were in a decent position to make a TD saving tackle.
This Cardinals’ pattern of giving up easy escape lanes to QB (last year and throughout this preseason) —- while not even getting a hand on the QB on his path to the end zone —- has got to be fixed, especially with Daniel Jones and Day Prescott coming to town in Weeks 2 and 3.
Faster, more athletic players like Owen Pappoe (5th Round pick) and Dante Stills (6th Round pick) might make some difference here.
Baldy gave us the good, the mysterious and the not so good.
What more can a fan ask?
Your thoughts —- what did you see?