March 21, 2018

Know Your Opponent: Arizona Cardinals

It’s that time again when we look at the upcoming team and this week we look at the Arizona Cardinals. We enlisted the help of Jess Root of the Revenge of the Birds (SB Nation) and we asked him about the Cardinals and what to expect.



Know Your Opponent


Give us one word to describe the Arizona Cardinals’ season to this point.



Talk about what Bruce Arians has done in his first season in Arizona?

Well, he got everyone fired up about the team early on. However, his insistence that he play “his guys” like Rashard Mendenhall and Yeremiah Bell, has grown a little old and his play calling has been questionable from time to time.


Larry Fitzgerald is one of the top three wide receivers in the game. How frustrating has it been for someone who follows the team so close, for his potential not being used as it had been in Kurt Warner days?

It is sad. But when the quarterback play is sub par, that’s what you get. Add in the fact that he has been hampered by injury and I’m not sure that he is quite the same player he was, you get very average numbers over the last two seasons.


How much have Tyrann Mathieu and Andre Ellington impacted the team as rookies? Are there any other rookies that have made an impact?

They have had huge impacts. Ellington has been the team’s best and most exciting offensive player. Mathieu has moved into the starting role at free safety. He makes several plays every single week that make you forget he is a rookie. He is relentless and is always in the right place. Other rookies? They have not had much impact. Undrafted rookie Tony Jefferson has made some plays but in a very limited role (injuries) and undrafted rookie Jaron Brown has a touchdown catch. Stepfan Taylor plays mostly on special teams, as does Kevin Minter.


Calais Campbell is one of the best defensive ends in football. What makes him such a dominating player?

He has a great motor. That combined with his size and length, he is relentless.


Has Carson Palmer been the impact player for the offense and has be brought stability to the position?

Yes, but his impact has been both good and bad. He has had a knack for leading key drives but has been wildly inconsistent. He has matched last year’s complete season interception total in half a season (14) and they have come in large part when he has time to throw. He works hard, but is Carson Palmer. He will make a couple throws every week that will make you wonder what the heck he was thinking.


Who are some under the radar players for the Cardinals to watch for?

On offense, watch tight end Jake Ballard, who just joined the team. We will see what he can contribute to a position that has been wildly disappointing. On defense, it’s hard to pick because there are so many players that people have on their radar. But look for the nose tackle combo of Dan Williams and Alameda Ta’amu. They don’t show up in the stat line, but they impact the line of scrimmage.


What do you think the keys are for the Cardinals to get a win against the Texans on Sunday?

The defense needs to play as it has shown it can, and then they need to not turn the ball over. Their defense is good enough to win games if the offense doesn’t give the ball away


A big thanks goes out to Jess. Make sure you follow him on twitter.


You can follow Patrick on Twitter. He is the Editor of State of the Texans.

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