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Defense, special teams key to Cards success

The Arizona Cardinals are off to a great start, thanks in large part to the play of their defense and special teams.

NFL analyst Ron Jaworski was on with Arizona Sports 620’s Gambo and Burns and agreed that the Cardinals have one of the best defenses in the NFL.

“You see tremendous energy and that coincides with tremendous discipline,” Jaworski said. “That’s why they are one of the best defenses in the league.”

Jaworski said that the defense began to emerge last season, but people are just now starting to notice.

“When you look at Calais Campbell and Darnell Docket in their 2-4-5 look, they get extreme pressure on the quarterback. They win inside,” Jaworski said. “Then you watch these linebackers move off the edge. We hear about Daryl Washington all the time, but Paris Lenon playing at a high level and Sam Acho playing at a high level.”

He also praised how well the defensive players “understand their roles.”

“They understand where they are supposed to be and they understand where their responsibilities are,” Jaworski said.

The Cardinals special teams may be even more dominant than their defense, but they don’t always get the attention they deserve.

“We as media hype, sometimes look at individual players, maybe a unit of each game,” Jaworski said. “Very infrequently do we talk about the significance of special teams.”

Jaworski attributes both of the Cardinals victories to the play of their special teams so far.
Last week against the New England Patriots, the Cardinals won after Patriots’ kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a 42-yard game winning field goal.

“There is no doubt in my mind, he (Gostkowski) was worried about pressure up the middle.” Jaworski said. “This guy was 38-for-38 inside the 40. When you got big Calais Campbell out there, and you’re thinking about him.”