P2’s keys for Cardinals on MNF: Stop the run, force Andy Dalton to beat us
It’s been a crazy and unprecedented year thus far in 2020, and this year’s NFL regular season has been just as unpredictable.
In 2019, the 5-10-1 Arizona Cardinals finished fourth in the NFC West behind the conference champion San Francisco 49ers at 13-3.
But through five weeks of this season — less than 33% of the 16-game season — the Cardinals are already at 60% of last year’s win total and currently sit in third place in the division above the injury-riddled Niners squad (2-3).
A large part of the turbulence during the 2020 NFL campaign has been injuries, especially to marquee players such as Arizona pash-rusher Chandler Jones, who injured his biceps in the Cardinals’ 30-10 win over the New York Jets on Sunday.
During Tuesday’s edition of the All Things Covered podcast, Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson said that he didn’t know the exact severity of Jones’ injury, but that the absence of the two-time All-Pro would be a monumental loss for the team.
“That’s a big blow to this team because you’re talking about a guy that averaged a sack a game,” Peterson said. “Sacks don’t fall off trees. Those are very, very hard to come by and we’re talking about a guy that had 19 last year, something crazy like that.
“So it’s hard to replace a guy like that. You’re not going to find a guy like that sitting on the couch. It’s going to be a big blow for sure.”
Another high-profile player that sustained an injury — a gruesome, season-ending one at that — was Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who required surgery to repair a broken ankle in his team’s 37-34 win over the New York Giants on Sunday.
That will affect Arizona’s defensive gameplan going into Monday night’s contest in Dallas, as former TCU and Cincinatti Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton will be starting under center for the Cowboys in place of the NFL’s leading passer.
And because of that required switch at quarterback, Peterson says stopping Dallas’ offense comes down to one thing.
“Stop the run,” the cornerback explained. “We definitely have to stop the run and force — not saying he can’t do it — but we have to force Andy Dalton to beat us.
“We feel if you take the ball out of Ezekiel Elliot’s hands, there are more opportunities for bad things to happen when the ball is in the air versus when the ball is getting carried.”