Quick All-22 Film Review – Arizona Cardinals
By Sean Lester Durham
This week the Jets (4-7) welcome the Cardinals (4-7) into Metlife Stadium in the Battle of The….Teams……err……. That Aren’t Really Good? I don’t know but what I do know is that SOMEONE has to continue their losing ways this Sunday as both these teams are coming off losses of more than 2 TDs a piece last week. Losing to the Rams and Patriots respectively, the Cardinals and Jets are both desperate for a win no matter how it comes. The Cardinals come into the game vs the Jets ranking 24th in passing yards, 30th in rushing yards, are holding opponents to 203.7 passing yards which is good for 4th in the league but is ranked 23rd in rushing yards giving up as they surrender 124.2 ypg. Simply put; the Cardinals are the New York Jets of the NFC West but in THIS matchup, something will have to give.
The Cardinals have leaned more heavily on RB Beanie Wells lately now that they are dealing with injuries at the QB position.
The Cardinals haven’t been doing much scoring during their 7 game skid but make no mistake about it, they ARE still capable of taking advantage of what the opposing defense gives them. Let’s not get away from the fact that before their 7 game skid, they did have impressive wins against the Seahawks, Patriots, Eagles and the Dolphins. Yes that was prior to injuries affecting their team but we’re going to go with the “any given Sunday” mantra for purposes of this article. The Cardinals come into this game vs the Jets averaging 16.6 ppg over their last 3 games, obviously nothing to brag about but when you’re going up against a team like the Jets that are struggling to score offensively, every point is crucial. The Drive I want to discuss this week is a drive that took place within the Cardinals game vs the Rams. It was a drive that began early in the 2nd quarter and it showed just how effective this Arizona offense can be if and when the opposing defenses give them looks that they like.
2nd Quarter, 11:02 remaining in the game and the Cardinals defense just forced a punt that was downed by Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson at the Cardinals 35 yard line.
– 1st and 10 at Cardinals 35 – The Cardinals come out in a pro-formation with Wells as the lone RB and Larry Fitzgerald (to the Right), Andre Roberts and Malcolm Floyd (to the left) as the WRs. Lindley brings Roberts in motion from the left to the right. At first it appears to be passing play but Roberts gets in a defensive stance prepared to run block to the right as Wells takes the hand off and runs behind the Right Tackle for 1 yard.
– 2nd and 9 at Cardinals 36 – The Cardinals come out in an I-formation with another 3 WR set (Floyd, Roberts and Fitzgerald). Lindley almost gets an offsides called with a hard count, something the Jets will have to be mindful of when facing the rookie. TE Jeff King is set on the line with his hands in the ground and as the ball is snapped, King appears to be ready to block which gets Rams LB Rocky McIntosh to bite and move up allowing King the space to sprint over the middle with McIntosh late on his heels but too late as King hauls in the catch from Lindley for 9 yards. (No yac)
*Note ~ Jets LBs have ALWAYS had problems with TE’s over the middle so if rookie Lindley finds some sort of crutch to lean on with these TEs and their hot reads over the middle vs the Jets, it may turn into a long day for the Jets LBs.
– 1st and 10 at Cardinals 45 – Cardinals once again come out in a pro-formation but this time with WRs (Fitzgerald and Floyd) on opposite sides of Lindley. Wells as the lone RB in the backfield. TE Rob Housler motions from left to right. Beanie Wells takes the hand off for a 2 yard dive up the middle. It appears as if the Rams were reading run the entire way as they had plenty of defenders in the box and Lindley failed to recognize this and audible. This may prove to be his and the Cardinals undoing against the Jets aggressive defense
– 2nd and 8 at Cardinals 47 – Cardinals come out in a Spread Formation with 3 WRs (Floyd and Roberts to the left and Fitzgerald once again to the right) with Wells as the lone RB in the backfield. Lindley motions for TE Housler to come in motion off the line from right to left and snaps the ball before Housler gets set. Housler utilizes the speed that he has and was able to break away from McIntosh on a post route which enabled him to garner enough separation to haul in the 28 yard catch from Lindley. It was a well designed play from Cardinals offensive coordinator but it was certainly executed perfectly as well. Again, it didn’t hurt that Rams LBs were playing press coverage in the box and allowed Housler to get behind them.
– 1st and 10 and Rams 25 – The Cardinals come out in a Pro-formation with 3 WR set (Fitzgerald, Floyd and Roberts) Wells once again the lone RB in the backfield. Lindley snaps the ball and appears to get his feet planted to throw but tosses it to WR Roberts who comes streaking behind him for an end around from right to left for a gain of 13 yards. Nothing spectacular about the play as it was a simple end around but the blocking from the WRs was rather text book and allowed the play to work. WR Floyd is an excellent run blocker and does very well in blocking on this play.
– 1st and 10 at Rams 12 – The Cardinals come out in a I-formation with 3 WR set (Fitzgerald and Floyd to the right and Roberts to the left) with Wells as the lone RB in the backfield. Lindley motions for Housler to come in motion from right to left as the Rams LB McIntosh follows him. Lindley calls for the snap and hands off to Wells who runs in essentially untouched for the 12 yard TD. This was a well executed play on all parts as the Cardinals did a magnificent job at run blocking on this play from every level. The WRs all blocked their man’s adequately. Wells isn’t the fastest RB but when the holes are as big as they were on this play then it’s a foregone conclusion that he will certainly take advantage of them.
The Cardinals on that drive illustrated just how capable they are in running the ball and throwing high percentage passes off the run. If a defense isn’t careful, the Cardinals from earlier in the season (at least the running game) can show up at anytime. The Cardinals aren’t losing because of lack of aggressiveness or the lack of effort; they have been losing most of their games due to being totally outplayed on both sides of the ball by the opposing team. Something this Jets team can certainly relate to.
How Do The Jets Attack That Cardinals Defense and Contain Their Offense?
The Jets are facing a pretty tough pass defense and a really bad run defense in the Arizona Cardinals. This should make for a VERY interesting game plan to say the least. The Jets should be able to capitalize off the Cardinals run defense JUST enough to open things up for the passing game or the play action. Of course this is the Jets were are talking about here so they may make things difficult for themselves but according to the film, the Jets should be able to take advantage of the Cardinals defense both on the ground and through the air.
Jets RB Blial Powell should see alot of action vs a Cardinals run defense that has played poorly as of late.
Once again, this is a week in which WR Stephen Hill should be able to take away the Cardinals’ best CB in Patrick Peterson because he doesn’t; Hill has a chance to be very productive. Peterson is a very talented CB but does tend to be TOO aggressive at the line of scrimmage as he showed against the Rams. Hill will have to beat Peterson off the press in order to get past him but if anyone CAN get past Peterson, its Hill but Hill has underachieved the entire season so this is more wishful thinking than anything. Against the Rams, the Cardinals allowed another ROOKIE in Chris Givens to run wild as he finished with 5 catches for 115 yards and 1 TD. Givens consistently beat Peterson OFF the snap and was able to run past him. The Jets will of course have to get their playmakers Jeremy Kerley and Dustin Keller involved against this Cardinals secondary that MAY be on its toes IF the Jets can effectively get the running game going which I’m confident they can.
Last week vs the Rams, the Cardinals allowed Stephen Jackson to go off for 24 carries for 139 yards. He averaged about 5.8 ypc. Jets RB Blial Powell is coming on strong lately and will look to continue his positive play against a pretty bad Cardinals run defense. Look for Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell to try to set the tone early as the Cards have shown on film that they have severe problems stopping the run.
The Jets defense is coming off a pretty disappointing performance vs the Patriots in the Thanksgiving Night Massacre of 2012. So they will be looking to rebound against a reeling Cardinals offense. The defense must be careful because as I noted earlier, the Cardinals are very capable of running the football on this Jets run-D that has had its share of problems this season. The Cardinals haven’t been efficient in running the ball nor have they been INSANELY effective according to the film but the Jets MAY be the cure for what ails them if the Jets aren’t ready for this Cardinals team that is also looking to play for pride and respect at this point.
Jets CB Antonio Cromartie will have another big test as he goes up against Larry Fitzgerald.
Cromartie will play Fitzgerald and if anyone else is on Fitz then the Jets are obviously forfeiting. After that assignment, it can get tricky as the Jets have a few CBs that are injured (Isaiah Trufant and Aaron Berry) so that will once again call for CB Kyle Wilson to handle the Cardinals #2 WR in Floyd or Roberts, depends on which one they slide in the #2 spot. This is a potential problem for the Jets as Kyle Wilson has shown the propensity to get beat no matter WHO is throwing the ball. Make no mistakes about it, the rookie will be told to try Kyle Wilson early and often and hopefully Wilson is up for the challenge but according to the film I’ve done on the Jets defense all season, Wilson won’t be so the Jets will probably play a little zone here and there but will certainly look to rattle the rookie QB who gave Rams CB Jenoris Jenkins 2 gift wrapped pick 6s last week. There’s not much film on Lindley but from what the film shows in the Rams game is that Lindley isn’t that accurate and misses easy throws and has a problem audibling at the opportune times. This should make for a easy day for the Jets defense but again we’re talking about the Jets defense here so throw logic and common sense out of the window.
That said; the Jets should dominate on defense and make enough plays on offense to win this game.