Cardinals' defense really down in the dumps

Posted Nov. 18, 2010 @ 10:58 a.m.
Posted By Dan Arkush

The natives are getting increasingly restless in the desert, with the heat that has been on the Cardinals' punchless offense all season catching up to a defense in a major meltdown mode that daily team observers have had a hard time comprehending.

"Something's missing," one team insider said. "There just hasn't been much passion or fire at all."

But as bad as things have gotten for a defense that entered Week 11 ranked dead last in points allowed and 30th in total yards, there have been occasional flashes, as evidenced by the unit's effectiveness inside the 20-yard line (ranked second in red-zone percentage).

"That has made it even more frustrating for the coaches and the fans," the insider said. "At times, they have played pretty well. They were decent in the game against the Saints (a 30-20 victory in Week Five) and for a lot of the game vs. Tampa Bay, although you wouldn't know it by the score (a 38-35 loss in Week Eight). It's obvious they have some talent.

"But it's been just so hit-and miss."
 
At the root of the defense's recent demise are a host of players, many of whom who have Pro Bowl pedigrees, who haven't come close to performing up to expectations.

After a strong Week One effort, veteran SS Adrian Wilson has admittedly become a major liability.

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, expected by many to become a shutdown corner in the mold of Darrelle Revis and Nnamdi Asomugha, has been picked on repeatedly, especially by bigger and stronger receivers.

DE Calais Campbell, who set a target before the season of double-digit sacks that many observers thought he would easily reach, has been a huge disappointment.

Same goes for free-agent addition Joey Porter, who aside from one decent effort against the Vikings has been ordinary at best.

"The secondary has given up one long play after another, and it hasn't been helped at all by a pass rush that has lacked consistency all season," the insider said.

Predictably, defensive coordinator Billy Davis has been a major target of the fan base's wrath.

But head coach Ken Whisenhunt isn't planning on making any coaching changes anytime soon, opting to weather an ugly storm that nobody really saw coming.