There were many questions surrounding the 2012 Arizona Cardinals when the team entered the preseason, but few of them belonged to the defense. The group finished 2011 strong and figured to only improve from there.
But if the first two preseason games were any indication, there are plenty of problems that need solutions.
A lack of pressure, blown coverages and poor tackling have littered the Cardinals’ efforts against both New Orleans and Kansas City.
In both games, the first-team defense started extremely slow and allowed 17 points before the half. The only highlights came after the opponents’ starters were taken out of the game and replaced by the second and third-team offense.
For a team that was supposed to excel on defense, this could be cause for concern.
But Cardinals defense end Calais Campbell isn’t worried about his side of the football.
“I still think we’ll be a great defense this year,” Campbell said in Flagstaff after Monday’s team walk-through. “We’ve just got to pay more attention to detain and fine-tune a few things. The things we made mistakes on are easy fixes, it’s just a different guy every single that that’s messing up.”
The defense will have a chance to clean up their performance this Friday against the Raiders at University of Phoenix Stadium as the starters may see a significant amount of playing time.
“Coach says we’ll play as long as we need to,” Campbell said. “I think we’ll play a lot in the next game, but I guess it depends on how well we do. We just got to show him that we’re ready. Once we do that I think we’ll be fine.”
Even if the first-team defense is on the field for the whole 60 minutes, Campbell is confident that his teammates will come through once the regular season starts.
“No need to panic yet. We’ve got a lot of great players on this team, a lot of guys who are smart enough to figure it out. No matter where we’re at, no matter what time we’re on the field, we can ball out. We’re a good enough team to make plays anywhere.”