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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Oct 26, 2011 - 4:28 pm

Cardinals blitz more than any other team in the NFC West

Even though the Cardinals haven't won in five games and the defense hasn't looked very good in that time, defensive coordinator Ray Horton has come through in one way.

Horton promised, when he was hired, that the defense would be more aggressive and the team would blitz on more occasions.

According to ESPN's Mike Sando the Cardinals are sending five or more rushers 48.2 percent of the time, more than any other NFC West team.

Horton may be doing this simply because four rushers just aren't getting any pressure. The Cardinals rank last in the league in opponents Total Quarterback Rating (Total QBR) allowing a 87.4 out of 100 rating while sending four, and have compiled only four sacks while allowing nine yards per passing attempt in those situations.

So sending more pressure may seem to be the simple fix, but it really doesn't get much better when the Cards bring five or more rushers.

When blitzing five or more rushers the Cardinals rank 25th in the league in Total QBR giving up a 64.7 rating and sacking the QB nine times. The numbers do improve, just not enough.

The good news for the Cardinals is that the team isn't last in the NFC West in this category, with that honor going to the St. Louis Rams.

The problem is when the Cards do blitz the pressure isn't getting there fast enough, which leaves the young secondary to play single coverage and the result could be a 95 yard touchdown pass like the one that burned the team Sunday against Pittsburgh.

So the question for Horton should be whether to blitz and risk a big play or to play coverage and let the quarterback have plenty of time; either way the result probably won't be promising for the Cardinals.


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