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Posts tagged with "Deone Bucannon"

Fourth quarter woes that cost team in losses weren’t a problem on Sunday

Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones tackles 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer on Sunday.
When crunch time came in past years, the Cardinals’ defense was usually the one dropping the hammer.

But in fourth quarter losses to the Lions and Cowboys earlier this season, it was the one getting squashed. The Cardinals were determined to get back to their late-game ways, and did so in Sunday’s 18-15 overtime win over the 49ers.

The defense didn’t allow a first down in the fourth quarter to give the offense every chance to win the game, and even though that didn’t happen, it didn’t break. San Francisco got the ball first in overtime and put together an impressive drive, but the Cardinals forced a field goal near the goal-line when a touchdown would have ended it.

“That,” linebacker Karlos Dansby said, “is how we’re supposed to play.”

The Cardinals led by two in the fourth quarter against Detroit but gave up a pair of touchdowns in just over five minutes as Detroit took control. Last week, the Cowboys broke open a tie game with 14 points in a seven-minute span in the fourth. The 49ers, meanwhile, scored three points in the final 29 minutes of this contest.

“We made it a big emphasis, that in that fourth quarter, that’s when we’ve got to rise up,” money linebacker Deone Bucannon said. “The first three quarters, we were lights out those first three games. … I’m happy we came out with the win. We played all four quarters.”

The defense has to be the engine for the Cardinals right now because of all the injuries and inconsistency on the other side of the ball (though it did suffer one of its own when linebacker Markus Golden left the game late with a knee injury). Success has shown up in spurts throughout 2017 but there have been too many lapses.

Red zone woes were a big problem through the first three games, as the Cardinals were last in the league, allowing touchdowns on 87.5 percent of possessions inside the 20. They didn’t allow the 49ers in the end zone at all on Sunday, allowing for the late-game heroics by Larry Fitzgerald.

“They didn’t give up any touchdowns, so that’s a pretty good day,” coach Bruce Arians said.

The Cardinals only had one takeaway – an interception by safety Antoine Bethea – but came close to a couple others. Cornerback Justin Bethel couldn’t corral a pass early in the game, and Dansby didn’t see another heading his way until it was too late.

The roster Steve Keim has built makes the future look bright.

Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Amidst the recent struggles the Cardinals have had over the past 20 games, I am finding myself feeling very excited and encouraged about the emerging youth on this football team.

Steve Keim built the current roster in such a way that the younger players can bring much needed energy and enthusiasm to what is otherwise a veteran team. Here are some of the players (by position) to feel very encouraged about:

QB: Blaine Gabbert: Gabbert is only 27 years old and he brings a dimension that few of the recent Cardinals’ QBs have had — a combination of size, arm strength and above average mobility. If you saw how the Broncos beat up on the Cowboys with Trevor Siemien at QB, Siemien’s ability to bootleg and shift the pocket was superb and it kept the Cowboys’ defense off-balance and on their heels all afternoon. This is what Gabbert can bring to the Cardinals’ offense, if and when he gets his chance. Better yet, Gabbert has a superior skills set to Siemien’s. Had Gabbert grown up in the Broncos’ system I have no doubt that he would be considered one of the top QBs in the NFL today.

RB: David Johnson: Not only is Johnson one of the most dynamic combo running back the NFL has seen in recent years, he is thoroughly lovable as a human being. Ever kind and humble, Johnson is like the golden retriever who will do anything to bring a smile to your face. With Larry Fitzgerald on the verge of retiring, Johnson will now become the hard-working, modest face of the franchise, hopefully for the better part of the next decade.

T.J. Logan: Can’t wait to see him healthy. Logan’s speed and his aggressiveness are a formidable one-two punch. He is a home run waiting to happen in the return game and out of the backfield.

WR: J.J. Nelson: There is something magical about J.J. Nelson, not just because he has legitimate 4.28 speed, but because he has remarkable body control. BA said it best about Nelson…he’s a speed guy who can cut and change direction without losing speed or the ability to track the football.

Carlton Agudosi: The way he moves for a WR his size is stunning. It is amazing that Rutgers did not do more to maximize his skills. Tall, angular WRs are becoming quite an asset in today’s NFL. Look at what issues WRs like Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin are presenting to NFL defenses. The Cardinals might have one of their own in Agudosi, if they can develop him.

TE: Ricky Seals-Jones: Again, the combination of length and speed with Seals-Jones is akin to that of Agudosi’s. Seals-Jones was starting to emerge as a receiving threat the last couple games of the pre-season. His talent is unmistakable.

OL: Evan Boehm: Boehm is a blue collar, smart, take nothing for granted type of competitor. He works his tail off and gets good results. Has an excellent combination of a strong base and superb upper body strength.

John Wetzel: Give Wetzel an assignment and give him a week to prepare for it and he gets after it big-time. The thing i love about him is he is the best run blocking tackle on the roster and he has been making very good strides as a pass protector. Last week versus Jabaal Sheardand John Simon — Wetzel yielded 0 sacks and 0 QB pressures on 40 pass attempts. I think that for the past two years he has been one of the top 4-5 best offensive linemen on the roster and it’s now time to keep him in the starting lineup at either of the tackle spots.

DT: Robert Nkemdiche: This guy is a keg of dynamite. What was so encouraging about him in the pre-season was that not only was he starting to blow up his side of the line, he was showing an increased ability to locate the football and to finish off plays. Once Nkemdiche has a taste of success in the regular season games, he is going to be an at-times unstoppable force.

OLB/DE: Markus Golden: They call him “Junk” as in junkyard dog because Golden is the epitome of tenacity and relentlessness. He’s a better athlete than he gets credit for, imo. He’s got an inmate ability to out-muscle blocks and the short area quickness to change directions and find his way to the football. Here is a guy who leaves it all out on the field. Better yet, when BA said after week one that the offensive struggles kept the defense out on the field too long, which is why they tired at the end of the game, Golden wanted no part of that thinking. He said the defense should be able to handle any type of situation and, that it’s on them to get it done.

LB: Deone Bucannon: I still feel as if Deone Bucannon’s best football is ahead of him. Recently he’s been battling through injury and inconsistent play, but once he gets his feet back under him and once he starts trusting his instincts more regularly he is going to be a prolific playmaker. The thing about Deone is that he has always relished the physical aspects of the game

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The regular season is upon us, and James Bettcher’s unit is ready to stake their claim as one of the NFL’s best defenses

The 2016 campaign for the Cardinals’ defense was one to remember, and it’s hard to imagine how much better it can be in 2017. Expectations are high in the desert, as once again “putting a ring” on their fingers will be the ultimate goal.

With key losses via free agency, doubt filled the desert air as the start of the new NFL year came crashing in. Steve Keim had his hands full as he tried to replace those that departed. The draft brought us two players — Hasson Reddick and Budda Baker — that have had a great off-season getting acclimated to the team.

The rookies join a squad that had some eye-popping numbers in 2016. The Cardinals led the NFL in sacks, with 48. They generated 28 takeaways, allowed 210.3 yards passing (4th) and 94.9 yards rushing (9th). Those numbers allowed them to finish 2nd overall in total defense (305.2 YPG).

One area that does need improvement, however, is points allowed. The Cardinals allowed 22.6 points per game (14th) — leaving them in the middle of the pack. Much too high for a team looking to bounce back from a losing season.

Bucannon out with a sprained ankle

Deone Bucannon was on schedule to fully return from off-season surgery; however, on Monday,  he sprained his ankle during practice and has “no chance” at playing this Sunday against the Lions. A major setback for a position that missed him severely during the preseason

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A look at the Cardinals game against the Atlanta Falcons and what we saw in the Cardinals loss to the Bears.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It is gameday for the Arizona Cardinals.

Which means, it is time to Rise Up, See Red and listen to the latest Arizona Cardinals podcast with Jess and I.

It will be another good one, so you’ll want to make sure and listen in. However, if you just want to get an idea of what we will be watching heading into tonight’s tilt with the Atlanta Falcons, just fast forward to where Jess marked at.

(3:00) The positives from the loss to the Bears

(30:50) The negatives from the loss to the Bears

(42:00) Drew Stanton officially named backup QB

(49:24) Deone Bucannon’s return and other injuries

(51:34) Players helping themselves and those hurting their chances for the 53-man roster

(58:40) Previewing game against Atlanta Falcons and what we want to see

It was another fun show, we hope you enjoy it and we hope it helps you get ready for the Cardinals and Falcons.

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Bad tackling, missing inside linebackers among the issues on Saturday

Bears running back Tarik Cohen reeled off several big gains against the Cardinals’ starting defense on Saturday night.
Bruce Arians doesn’t like to make snap judgments about what goes on near the line of scrimmage right after a game.

The Cardinals’ coach has a poor view into that muddled mess from the sidelines, and will often defer until he sees the tape.

So it was a bad thing when he had a strong postgame reaction to the first unit’s run defense in Saturday night’s 24-23 preseason loss to the Bears. Chicago running back Tarik Cohen regularly popped to the second level, finishing with 11 carries for 77 yards, including gains of 9, 16, 16, and 25 yards.

“Hell, yeah,” Arians said when asked if he was concerned about Cohen’s success. “You don’t want to see anyone run 10-, 15-yard runs against any of our defenses, especially against our number ones.”

The Cardinals have been consistently strong against the run in Bruce Arians’ four seasons, finishing in the top-three in yards per attempt allowed in both 2013 and 2016.

However, there is some worry after the departure of defensive tackle Calais Campbell and linebacker Kevin Minter, two of the team’s best run defenders a season ago, and Saturday’s performance won’t assuage those fears. Nose tackle Corey Peters was frustrated with the results, but believes it is just a blip, not a sign of things to come.

“We’ve been working hard throughout camp, which has been three or four weeks at this point, and I think we’ve been consistently doing well,” Peters said. “I’m anxious to get to the film and kind of pinpoint where we struggled. I’m sure we’ll get it fixed. This is a strong group and everybody’s honest. We’ll take a good look at ourselves and refocus and come back at it.”

Some of the issues can be attributed to the youth at inside linebacker during the game. Scooby Wright and Haason Reddick started with veterans Karlos Dansby (leg) and Deone Bucannon(ankle) still on the shelf with injuries.

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Despite loss of five starters, expectations remain high for talented group

Cardinals defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche is playing better this season and is hoping to cement a key role on defense.
There was a great deal of hand-wringing in the first few weeks of free agency when one defensive starter after another departed the Cardinals.

By the time the dust settled, five of them– defensive tackle Calais Campbell, safety Tony Jefferson, cornerback Marcus Cooper, safety D.J. Swearinger and linebacker Kevin Minter — were gone from a group that finished second in total defense in 2016.

While General Manager Steve Keim signed linebacker Karlos Dansby and safety Antoine Bethea to help cushion the blow, the losses were still significant. The question among critics wasn’t if the defense would dip in 2017, but how much.

“We lost a lot of great players,” nose tackle Corey Peters said. “And that’s good for them. They got opportunities to go and make some money, and as a player and a friend, I like to see people maximizing their potential and get the opportunities they deserve. But as far as we go, we were just focused on the guys that were here.”

The potential repercussions from such significant upheaval cannot be discounted, but there is also an alternate conclusion to consider: the 2017 Cardinals defense could again be among the NFL’s best.

While Campbell is gone, the team returns a pair of premium pass-rushers in Chandler Jones and Markus Golden, who had more combined sacks (23½) than any other duo in the NFL. The Cardinals also have Patrick Peterson, an elite cornerback, and a healthy Tyrann Mathieu, a Defensive Player of the Year candidate last time he was unshackled.

In the end, the unit’s success could hinge greatly on three things: the return to form of Mathieu and money linebacker Deone Bucannon (who is still recovering from offseason ankle surgery); the play of the starting cornerback opposite Peterson; and the progress of defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, safety Budda Baker and inside linebacker Haason Reddick.

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