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