It is a distant and fading memory now, but there was a time when the Arizona Cardinals had trouble scoring on offense and even more trouble stopping opponents from scoring when playing defense. The team from the desert no longer “stumbles along” offensively and defensively.
Franchise quarterback Carson Palmer has no trouble reaching the end zone when the Cardinals have the ball. And when Arizona puts its defensive squad on the field, it almost always “rises to the occasion.”
The truth is that the Cardinals rank seventh in points allowed per game. This team gives up just 19.12 points or, stated differently, less than three touchdowns in a full sixty minute contest. That places it near the top of the entire league and, because points come easily to this squad when it plays offense, it’s easy to understand why Arizona is almost certainly going to be playing football in January.
Perhaps you’re still skeptical about Arizona and its ability to be dominant defensively. If so, consider all of the following. The Cardinals front seven plays as if it is a “human wall” against the run. In fact, Arizona’s stout defensive line allows a paltry 90.25 rushing yards per game, good enough to place it in the “Top Five” in the league among teams that excel is “run-stuffing.”
The secondary of the Cardinals is elite and features some of the best players at cornerback and safety. The secondary adopted the phrase “No Fly Zone” because of their elite ability to shutdown opponents passing. Patrick Peterson is the leader of the secondary and is a captain on the Arizona team and is considered one of the best corners in the NFL. Tyrann Mathieu “The Honey Badger” out of LSU is one of the best young safeties in the game and continues to improve every year. These two players add to the elite defense that Arizona has.
This squad that once played its home games in St. Louis stands out in a number of other defensive categories, as well. Consider if you will that this tough and rugged squad has been forcing 2.12 turnovers per game while allowing just 222.62 passing yards per game and you may begin to wonder how any opponent ever outscores this talented group.
Arizona also gives up just 5.06 yards per play, a figure well below the league average which is 5.56 yards per play. It doesn’t require great football knowledge to realize that if an opponent manages to gain only a few yards per attempt on offense, it is going to have trouble scoring points.
And teams that line up against Arizona have definitely been finding it tough to reach the end zone. The Cardinals have utilized strong defensive play for several consecutive seasons as their “direct route” to the postseason. It is a formula that has worked over and over again.
It almost certainly will continue to work for the remainder of this season and in the years that follow. The simple truth is now, and has always been, that defense is the key to success in the National Football League. Every general manager of every team in the NFL knows that is a fact.
So why do some teams prosper defensively more than other teams? Talent evaluation is also a critically important component for success in professional football. Select the right players and the “defense will never rest.”
It really is a s simple as that.
Courtesy of Raisingzona.com