Arizona Cardinals hand Zaven Collins the green dot in OT win vs. Raiders

Sep 18, 2022, 2:45 PM | Updated: 9:50 pm

Arizona Cardinals LB Zaven Collins (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...

Arizona Cardinals LB Zaven Collins (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

The Arizona Cardinals defense looked noticeably different when it took the field in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Zaven Collins, not Isaiah Simmons, was given the duty of relaying the play calls from defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.

After last week’s showing against the Kansas City Chiefs, a change was definitely needed.

“We just didn’t play fast, we couldn’t get lined up, the calls were coming out slow. We didn’t play clean enough,” Joseph said Thursday.

Not only did Simmons hand over the green dot to Collins, the star backer has seen the sideline more than the football field early on in the Week 2 tilt.

In the first possession alone, Simmons registered just two snaps over the Raiders’ 15-play drive.

The changes, however, did not yield much confidence over a half of play.

With Collins and Nick Vigil patrolling the inside for the most part, the Cardinals defense sat back and watched as the Raiders scored 20 unanswered points, looking out of sorts yet again.

The second half was a completely different story, though.

After giving up 258 yards of total offense in the first half, the Arizona defense rebounded in a big way, holding Las Vegas to just 18 plays and 48 yards in the final 30 minutes of action.

And despite Simmons seeing the sideline more than the field on Sunday, he made one of the biggest plays of the night with an overtime fumble that was scooped up and scored by cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. for a Cardinals victory.

“I said it all along, we haven’t played a lot of football with this group together and I think in the second half you saw it come together a little bit,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters after the game. “We’ve still got a bunch of guys on that short-term IR that we’re still waiting to get back.

“We got one of the best receivers in the NFL waiting to come back, so we knew we just had to hold on and continue to get better over the first month and then we got some reinforcements. but that was a good way to build some momentum going into a division game next week.”

As for Collins, the linebacker turned in one of his best games as a pro, recording eight tackles and a forced fumble in the win.

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