For Cardinals, Improvement Starts With D

This Sunday, the Cards (1-0) head into Washington to face the Redskins (1-0) and former running back Tim Hightower. Both teams have put themselves in a position to have surprising (2-0) starts. If the Cardinals are going to make that type of statement, their play on defense has got to improve.

A week ago, the defense gave up a rookie record 422 yards to Cam Newton in his first NFL game. That’s a problem heading into this week’s game. Former Cardinal Tim Hightower has the potential for a big game, as he knows this Cards defense better than most. Quarterback Rex Grossman threw for over 300 yards against the Giants in Week One, and looked very comfortable running the ‘Skins’ offense.

Ray Horton and the Arizona defense are going to have to come up with a better scheme than last week to stop the balanced offense of Washington. The pass rush is going to be a huge factor in that equation. Against Carolina, the Cards racked up 4 sacks on Cam Newton, famous for his agility and escape ability. Rex Grossman is not a mobile quarterback by any stretch of the imagination, and I look for the defensive line and outside linebackers to have the edge.

Aside from the defensive line playing at a consistently high level, the secondary is going to have to improve. Cam Newton averaged 10.9 yards per completion last week. A first down every time a quarterback drops back is simply not going to cut it against an experienced quarterback that led his 2006 Bears to the Super Bowl.

The quest for (2-0) will be tough, but if the Cardinals can pull it off, it would put them in position as a serious contender in the division, something that would make everyone happy. Oh, and the last time the Cardinals started (2-0), they went to the Super Bowl.

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