Cardinals DC Vance Joseph held ‘spirited’ meeting to address explosive plays
TEMPE — Two interceptions returned for touchdowns by Arizona Cardinals defenders made the difference in a 42-34 win over the New Orleans Saints last week, but defensive coordinator Vance Joseph was far from satisfied with his unit’s outing.
The Cardinals surrendered plays of 64, 53 and 41 yards to New Orleans and gave up their most points since Week 1.
Joseph said he was excited to see cornerback Marco Wilson and hybrid defender Isaiah Simmons score touchdowns and cornerback Antonio Hamilton intercept another pass, but he felt the standard in place was not held.
“Last Thursday to make those three big plays, that was fun to watch,” Joseph said. “But to give up those three big plays that we gave up that led to 17 points, we don’t like that. Those three plays were the biggest plays we’ve had all year. I mean, 60-plus, 40-plus, 50-plus, that’s not good defense.”
Joseph addressed the issue in what he called a “spirited” meeting Friday morning.
The 64-yard play came on a shallow crosser to receiver Kevin White, which set up a touchdown two plays later. White gained 62 yards after the catch, 45 above expected which is the ninth-most on a single play this season, according to Next Gen Stats.
Kevin White reached a top speed of 20.35 mph on his 64-yard reception, his fastest speed as a ball carrier of his NFL career.
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) October 21, 2022
The 53-yarder was a post caught by Rashid Shaheed between two Cardinals defenders for a touchdown on the game’s opening drive.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) October 21, 2022
Joseph said his defense was a little shocked by his attitude on Friday morning, but he felt the meeting was necessary.
“That’s got to stop,” Joseph said. “The guys know that. They weren’t happy after that game by any means. We have a higher standard than that. … We’ll fix it … coach the wrong and fix the right and praise the right and move forward.”
“Our defense, we’re working towards the defense that we would like to be, we’re not there yet,” Simmons said after Thursday’s win. “Got a ways to go, the amount of points they put on us was too much. We’re not satisfied with that at all.”
The Cardinals’ zone defense has mostly done its job at preventing home runs this season. The longest touchdown they allowed was a 20-yard run on a sweep by Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp before Shaheed’s catch.
Keeping scoring down has been a positive, as Arizona allowed 19.6 points per game through Weeks 2-6.
Linebacker Zaven Collins admitted this week that Arizona’s defense allowed too many yards to New Orleans with 494 net, a season high.
“Total yards is kind of like what we were kind of beat up about last week because they had quite a bit of yards,” Collins said. “Limiting their big players … that’s what we’d like to do.”
The Cardinals will be keyed in on keeping their next opponent, the Minnesota Vikings, in front of them Sunday. The Vikings have explosive playmakers like wide receiver Justin Jefferson and running back Dalvin Cook to account for.