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Posts tagged with "Arizona"

While the loss of Markus Golden hurts, the Arizona Cardinals have a rookie linebacker who could quite possibly fill in nicely

Arizona Cardinals’ rookie Haason Reddick is no stranger to opposing quarterbacks. As a defensive end at Temple University in Philadelphia, the Cards’ inside linebacker recorded nine and a half sacks during his senior year. There’s a good chance that the 13th-overall pick of this season’s draft will be getting reacquainted with passers again real soon.

Last Sunday’s loss of outside linebacker Markus Golden to a torn ACL is a significant one. The third-year Cardinal was coming off of a huge 2016, when he led the squad with 12.5 sacks. Sacks that will be not easy to replace now that Golden has been placed on injured reserve.

There’s been talk this week about Reddick moving from his inside slot to the outside. The pass-rushing prowess that the Camden, New Jersey native showed during his last year in school makes one think he’ll have success. The 6’1″, 235 pounder got to signal-callers in his first three college campaigns as well, totalling eight sacks from 2013-15.

Reddick has done an admirable job at inside ‘backer through the first quarter of the current season. He has accumulated 18 tackles, showing superb tackling technique and quickness while doing so.

However, the return of starter Deone Bucannon from injury will obviously cut into the first-year player’s snaps. The other starter in the middle, Karlos Dansby, will most likely remain in his current role. The 35-year old is playing like he’s 25, having tallied 26 tackles through four contests.

These factors make Reddick sliding over into Golden’s spot even more logical. If he is moved, the presence of a great sack artist like Chandler Jones on the opposite side will make his transition smoother. The attention Jones garners should help Riddick put up sack stats in the same way Golden was able to.

Arizona defensive coordinator James Bettcher does have another option. Kareem Martin had an excellent preseason. The fourth-year Cardinal has been biding his time for an opportunity like this, and may also be given a chance to shine.

Golden’s replacement will be revealed on Sunday when the Cards meet the Philadelphia Eagles. Whoever can supply the most pressure from the edge will be on the field. Reddick the rookie has a solid shot of being that guy.

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Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts after scoring the game-winning touchdown over cornerback Rashard Robinson #33 and cornerback Jimmie Ward #25 of the San Francisco 49ers during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. Arizona won 18-15.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) reacts after catching the game-winning touchdown over Rashard Robinson (33) and Jimmie Ward (25) of the 49ers on Sunday.

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SANTA CLARA — What had been a respectable showing for the 49ers’ pass defense — or at least an improvement over its last outing — all went up in smoke once Carson Palmer had the ball in his hands with 2:24 to go in overtime.

Some miscommunication in the 49ers’ secondary opened the door just enough for the Arizona Cardinals quarterback to find Larry Fitzgerald open for a 19-yard touchdown with 32 seconds left in overtime, handing San Francisco a gut-wrenching 18-15 loss Sunday.Prior to the touchdown, Palmer completed 5 of 7 passes for 58 yards on the decisive drive, taking advantage of the 49ers’ zone defense on the first two plays then finding a soft spot in coverage on the game-winning throw.

Up until overtime, the 49ers had held Palmer to a reasonable 240 passing yards, and sacked him six times.

That would have represented a vast improvement over the 292 yards they allowed to Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams 10 days prior. Goff was not sacked and threw for three touchdowns Sept. 21 at Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers have now allowed 961 passing yards this season, ninth most in the NFL.

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Palmer began the drive with a pair of 11-yard completions to Andre Ellington, quickly moving the ball to the Arizona 47 with 1:54 to go in the extra session.

“When you play zone with a four-man rush, you drop and they checked it down to the back right away,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday. “We want those to be five-yard gains. We’ve got to break to the ball a little bit faster, make better tackles in that situation.”

Just before the touchdown, the only one of the game, NaVorro Bowman picked up a shoe that had come off Ellington’s foot. He flung it out of the way, returned, then got the call from the 49ers sideline as to what defense to run for the next down.

The sequence of events might have been just enough to throw off the 49ers for the game-deciding play.

“Things are going fast, you’re trying to get the communication in for the calls, you get it to NaVorro, he relays it to the D-Linemen, the secondary,” Shanahan said. “(Arizona) got up there, they got set fast, and there was just a little hesitation in our secondary.

“We ended up getting to the right spots, but we were a foot behind, and when you do that versus a good quarterback and especially (Fitzgerald) going down the seam, they made us pay.”

Bowman was emphatic after the game that officials should have blown the whistle to make sure the shoe was not in anybody’s way.

Shanahan said, “We ended up being on our assignments. We were a little off our landmarks.”

Fitzgerald ran past nickel back K’Wuan Williams and had inside position on Rashard Robinson, giving Palmer a sizable target for the throw. The 49ers had three safeties in the game with four linebackers.

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The Arizona Cardinals have run into a depth issue at tight end to start the season

All seemed fine in training camp and the preseason for the Arizona Cardinals at the tight end position.  That feeling didn’t last more than one game into the new season.

Jermaine Gresham got injured against the Detroit Lions.  On Thursday he did not practice.  Then Troy Niklas all a sudden came down with an injury.  He too did not practice.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 10: Jermaine Gresham #84 of the Arizona Cardinals tries to break the tackle of Tavon Wilson #32 of the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 10, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 35-23. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

There was hope that the Cardinals would use the tight end more in the passing game this season with the questionable depth at receiver.  Gresham was re-signed in the offseason in the hopes of building on what he accomplished in 2016.

Gresham had 37 receptions for 391-yards and two touchdowns.  It was an improvement over his 18 receptions for 223-yards and a touchdown in his first season in Arizona in 2015.

Niklas has battled the injury bug pretty much since the time he arrived in Arizona.  Now he’s hurt again and you have to wonder about him going forward.

The Cardinals generally look for blocking first from their tight ends but they could become a huge part of the offense and the short passing game with the absence of running back David Johnson. After Gresham and Niklas is Ifeanyi Momah.They have Ricky Seals-Jones on the practice squad.  It sure seems like however that the Cardinals are not only worried about Gresham and Niklas this weekend but with what Momah and Seals-Jones can provide.

With that in mind, the Cardinals are reportedly bringing back Jim Dray.  You remember Dray. He caught all of seven passes in his first three seasons in Arizona.

In 2013, coach Bruce Arians’ first season in Arizona, Dray was a little more involved in the offense. He caught 26 passes for 215-yards and two touchdowns.  After that he moved on to Cleveland for two seasons.

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Breaking down the interception return for a touchdown by the Cardinals cornerback

The Cardinals had a poor offensive showing on Sunday against the Lions, and it will only get tougher with star running back David Johnsonon the shelf for at least two months. The defense will need to step up, much like Justin Bethel did early against Detroit. On his first target as a full-time starting cornerback, Bethel picked off a Matthew Stafford throw and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown. Bethel and linebacker Josh Bynes explained how the play unfolded in this week’s edition of Cardinals Film Room.

The situation: The Lions had a second-and-5 from the Arizona 21 with 11:29 remaining in the first quarter of a scoreless game.

Bethel moves with Lions wide receiver Golden Tate as he motions closer to the ball: “Tate, we know when he gets inside he likes to do a lot of under routes. This is a Cover-1 but we had some inside help. He was lined up wide, and once he bumped down, I decided I’d stay down with him and play him off the line.”

Bynes’ job is to patrol the middle of the field, and he has a feeling Tate will be heading his way: “I saw Golden, and the way he motioned, your senses tingle.”

Bynes hits Tate: “He turned and I saw him crossing. I just tried to get my hands on him and knock him off as much and as hard as possible I could. I’m glad I did. It distracted him.”

Bethel adjusts in coverage: “I was going to get closer to (Tate), but once I saw (Bynes) hit him, I tried to stay over the top of it.”

The collision was legal because it came within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Bynes: “Especially when we’re in certain coverages, you don’t want to get too much depth so you can use your hands within that yardage. I tried to make sure I didn’t back up much. I took a peek and then just ran at him so it would still be legal.”

Bethel doesn’t see Stafford release the ball: “I was actually looking at Tate. I saw Bynes on him. I saw (Tate) throw his hands out, and so when I was looking at his hands, I saw the ball coming, too. When I saw it was overthrown, I was over top of him, so I saw the ball coming and I just stuck my hands up there to make sure I would catch the ball. I caught it in stride, so I just caught it and kept running.”

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