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Posts tagged with "Haason Reddick"

Notes: Handful of Cardinals return home to Philly; Watford can step in if Boone not ready

Rookie linebacker Haason Reddick will try to get after the quarterback as an outside linebacker after Markus Golden‘s injury.
Yes, James Bettcher knows rookie Haason Reddick is smaller for a typical outside linebacker, weighing about 235 pounds.But the Cardinals defensive coordinator still has confidence Reddick will be fine in that regard. To that end, he talked Thursday about former Colts Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Mathis, whom Bettcher once coached when he was in Indianapolis.

“Robert Mathis, I had him on the scale one time,” Bettcher said. “He was like 212 pounds. He’d probably

wrestle with me if I told somebody that, but that’s what he really was – 212 on the scale. But no one could block him, and he could power and bull anyone.“(Size) doesn’t matter. When you have speed and you have power, you can rush on the edge. Learning how to use the speed and how to use the power will be the next thing for (Reddick.)”

No one is comparing Reddick to Mathis at this point. Reddick was just learning how to play inside linebacker when Markus Golden’s season-ending knee injury changed the plans. Now, Reddick will split time with Kareem Martin as Golden’s replacements.

[READ: THE (LOSS OF) MARKUS GOLDEN EFFECT]

Bettcher said Reddick’s role on the outside will be similar to what they did with him as an inside linebacker – certain packages at first, with an increasing role as time goes on. As for using him inside as well, Bettcher only said “there will be packages where you will see him doing different things.”

That’s fine with Reddick, who has maintained all week he is prepared for whatever happens.

“I was asked to help out there, which I am willing to do,” Reddick said. “How much I’m expected to play or how often I’m there, that I don’t know.”

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After blowing a 17-9 lead in Detroit, the Cardinals’ defense looks to bounce back from a poor showing

Things couldn’t have started off any better for the Cardinals on defense after Justin Bethel ran away with an interception and returned it for a TD. After that, however, things seemed to slowly go downhill for James Bettcher’s unit.

At the end of the day, the defense gave up 367 total yards (285 passing; 82 rushing). They also allowed nineteen (19) 1st downs, allowing the Lions to keep drives extended, especially on 3rd down. With essentially playing zone coverage the entire game, Matthew Stafford took advantage.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 10: Kenny Golladay #19 of the Detroit Lions scores a touch down in the second half against Justin Bethel #28 of the Arizona Cardinals at Ford Field on September 10, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

With what usually is a blitz-happy team, the Cardinals only blitzed on 15.5% of pass plays, according to Pro Football Focus. Very uncharacteristic for an aggressive defense.

The conservative game plan allowed Matthew Stafford to have a great game, resulting in yet another comeback win for his Lions. He finished the day completing 29-of-41 passes for 292 yards, while adding 4 TDs.

Haason Reddick making strides

There was a silver lining in the loss on Sunday, however, and that was the play of rookie linebacker Haason Reddick. Reddick recorded six tackles and two assists. At times, looking like he knew exactly what was coming towards him on the play. Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of 80.9 for his efforts. Not bad for a rookie playing in his first regular season game.

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The Cardinals clearly planned to bring Haason Reddick along slowly in his NFL debut on Sunday, rotating their first-round pick with Josh Bynes at inside linebacker.

It didn’t take long for Reddick to prove he was ready for the grand stage. The talented youngster avoided the mental errors that plagued him in the preseason and consistently showed well against the run and in coverage.

Reddick totaled 10 tackles in the game, including two for loss. He was given an 82.6 grade by Pro Football Focus, the highest on the team.

“He was outstanding,” coach Bruce Arians said. “He’s one of those young guys that played extremely well. He got the one penalty with hands to the face, but he was going full speed. He’s fast and he’s going to be a heck of a player.”

Three plays stood out to me: the throw in the flat to Theo Riddick which Reddick stuffed for a one-yard loss on third-and-1; a tackle of Ameer Abdullah on a stretch play; and the blitz off the edge when he just missed Matthew Stafford for a sack.

Reddick had two quarterback pressures on his five pass-rushes, per PFF, and didn’t miss a tackle in his six attempts. The athletic explosion is apparent, and it will be interesting to see how Reddick is deployed moving forward since versatility is one of his big strengths.

In a game where a lot of things went wrong, Reddick was a bright spot.

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Bettcher now can play some games on the defensive side of the ball.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

James Bettcher has been experimenting with zone coverages the past couple of years, but thanks to some untimely assignment miscommunications and less than requisite speed at the linebacker position, the efforts to incorporate more zone looks into the Cardinals‘ defense have been thwarted.

However, with the additions of Karlos Dansby and Haason Reddick to the defense, Bettcher suddenly has the kind of speed, flexibility and athleticism it takes to play effective zone coverage. Dansby’s experience and his uncanny sense of where the ball is going makes him an asset in zone coverage. With Reddick, Bettcher gets a superior athlete who can drop into the hook zones and converge on a WR or RB with dispatch. In addition, Bettcher can send Reddick on blitzes and drop the now lighter and more spry Chandler Jones into coverage.

On the perimeter, Patrick Peterson and Justin Bethel have the speed to take away their deep thirds of the field and at times Bettcher can roll one of them up to disguise man to man and then rotate the safeties over the top. On one zone play during the pre-season, Peterson nearly intercepted a deep pass that normally a QB would not throw in his direction because the coverage was well disguised.

The safeties, Mathieu, Branch and Bethea, are interchangeable, just as Bettcher likes his safeties to be and thus Bettcher can have Honey Badger blitz on one play, dog the flat on the next, and play over the top on the following. The safety roles in the zone schemes are also made to order for the intuitive Budda Baker and speedy Rudy Ford.

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The news Deone Bucannon won’t play Sunday — not a huge shock, even without the setback of an ankle sprain — puts on hold what the Cardinals will do with rookie Haason Reddick when Bucannon, Reddick and Karlos Dansby are all available. Reddick will be needed to play in Bucannon’s role, at least in certain packages.

But it also goes to that concern lingering as soon as the Cards cut to 53 and, at least outwardly, the team only kept three outside linebackers. What about depth? What about a fourth behind Markus Golden, Chandler Jones and Kareem Martin? Coach Bruce Arians mentioned that veteran Philip Wheeler, signed as an inside linebacker, worked in practice recently on the outside and can play both spots. Defensive lineman Josh Mauro has occasionally taken reps at OLB and could serve there in a pinch, especially on running downs. But then there is Reddick.

Reddick, who played defensive end in college, slowly has gotten some reps as an outside ‘backer to build on his work on the inside. And once Bucannon is back, Reddick makes the most sense as a dual-threat guy, someone who can play on the inside in certain packages, who can rush the passer in certain packages, and who can also serve as that fourth guy behind Golden, Jones and Martin.

Again, versatility has been one of the hallmarks of the players GM Steve Keim has sought, especially on the defense. The linemen can play anywhere. The linebackers, mostly, can switch around. The defensive backs are interchangeable. That is how the Cards will solve that fourth OLB issue.

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The Arizona Cardinals rookies, as a whole, didn’t have their best game against the Chicago Bears

The starters got their longest look yet in the Arizona Cardinals third preseason game. The first team played much more against the Chicago Bears than they did last week. This left somewhat less time for most of the rookies to show what they could do.

The Cardinals lost to the Bears by a score of 24-23 in a game that featured an exciting finish. However, coaches had little to be excited about overall. Not only did the starters struggle, but the rookies didn’t fare all that well either.

Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen (29) tries to elude Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

First round draft pick Haason Reddick once again got caught over-pursuing and running himself out of plays. He recorded one tackle, but was pretty much a non-factor for the second week in a row. The only time he was mentioned was when he was called for a blatant late hit on the quarterback.Budda Baker has been the team’s best performing rookie, but even he was more down than up this week. He had two tackles and was in on a few pass breakups, but he was out of position a few times, gave up a touchdown, and got flagged for pass interference.

Wide Receiver Chad Williams nearly had the play of the game. He was open in the middle of the field for what seemed to be a sure long touchdown, but the pass was high and incomplete. He did record one catch for 15 yards. He did get plenty of playing time.

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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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Arizona Cardinals first round draft pick Haason Reddick (43) runs drills during an NFL football minicamp, Tuesday, June 6, 2017, at the Cardinals’ training facility in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Just a year ago, the Arizona Cardinals’ development of their young players appeared healthy as ever. ESPN ranked the team’s 25-and-under crop of players eighth in the NFL.

How things change in a year.

This year, Scott Kacsmar, special to ESPN, ranks Arizona 31st in the league in terms of its talent of players under 25 years old.

Some of that has to do with talented players turning 25 and out of consideration for this ranking. David Johnson, Tyrann Mathieu and J.J. Nelson are among those who are no longer included in the Cardinals’ under-25 group. Deone Bucannon turns 25 just before the season, and Kacsmar doesn’t include him, either.

Otherwise, the Cardinals are banking on young first-round potential, but not much production. 2015 pick D.J. Humphries started his career in the doghouse as a healthy scratch, but he ranked 10th among left tackles in snaps per blown block last year. Robert Nkemdiche will hope for a similar boost in his sophomore season. The rookie had just one tackle in 2016, failing to silence critics after some off-field issues led to him sliding in the draft.

This year the defense added linebacker Haason Reddick and versatile safety Budda Baker in the first two rounds, but neither is a shoe-in to start in Week 1. Baker could see the field a lot early given Tyrann Mathieu’s injury history.

After one preseason game, the top of the under-25 group seems promising. Humphries, 23, is dealing with a minor hamstring issue at present, but he pushed veteran Jared Veldheer out of the starting left tackle spot thanks to his play late last season.

Nkemdiche’s consistency at 22 years old might be the only thing stopping him from being an above-average defensive tackle. Baker, 21, has earned himself comparisons to Mathieu, and Reddick, 22, appears to be filling in for Bucannon just fine.

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After throwing a “strike” during the ceremonial first pitch at a recent Arizona Diamondbacks game, rookie Haason Reddick is hoping to be a homerun for the Cardinals defense in 2017.

 

Haason Reddick was the last rookie to sign his contract this off-season. He was selected 13th overall in the 2017 draft, and inked a 4-year deal. The team has an option for a 5th year. That leaves the inside linebacker spot in great hands, at least through the 2020 season.

Jun 23, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals draft pick Haason Reddick throws out a ceremonial first pitch prior to the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

A defensive end and outside linebacker at Temple, Reddick has been asked to move inside as a professional. It’s a position he’s only recently played at the Senior Bowl. But so far, he’s been impressive. “As a guy who played a different position and is now learning a new position, (he) plays instinctively at a new position he’s never really played before,” DC James Bettcher said of his new linebacker.

As a rookie, Reddick will be asked to play a major role for the defense. Regular starter Deone Bucannon will be sidelined after undergoing off-season ankle surgery. It’s also likely he’ll start camp on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list, as reported by Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports 910. Reddick knows it is imperative to take full advantage of his inaugural camp, and having mentors like veteran Karlos Dansby and linebackers coach Larry Foote should only work in his favor.

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