“No risk-it, no biscuit.” Bruce Arians loves to repeat the mantra by which he coaches (and lives, but that’s another blog post). Sometimes, that causes some to fret about the chances Arians takes late in games — passes the Cardinals try that fall incomplete and stop the clock, or a shot down the field. But there is tangible proof it works.
Football Outsiders writer Scott Kacsmar tweeted out this amazing fact today: Arians, since 2012 (so including his stint coaching the Colts), is a stunning 31-1 in games where his team held a one-score lead at any point in the fourth quarter and overtime. The one loss came in Arians’ very first game as Cardinals’ coach, when the Cards had an 11-point lead going into the fourth quarter in St. Louis but eventually lost, 27-24.
It not only shows the ability of the Cardinals to play the kind of fourth-quarter offense necessary to hold on to wins but also rally (think of both wins in Seattle in 2013 and 2015.) It also underscores that the defense has made big plays to seal wins (Rashad Johnson and the secondary versus the Eagles in 2014, Tony Jefferson versus the Ravens last season come to mind.) Overall, it also shows a good team — good teams know how to win close games. The Cardinals have definitely done that.
Tags: Football Outsiders, Rashad Johnson, Tony Jefferson
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We interrupt the normal gameday inactives post — because there are no surprises on it following the bye week — to note the Cardinals’ defense, coming into the weekend, were the top defense in the NFL based on footballoutsiders.com’s DVOA rankings. The DVOA rankings are in many ways better than the NFL rankings because it takes into account so much more than just yards. (DVOA stands for Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, balancing a team against the league average and multiple categories). FO says the Cards’ strength of schedule plays a factor, as does the turnovers (although DVOA doesn’t give a ton of credit for fumble recoveries, because those tend to be the luck of the bounce) and the fact the Cards do well defending on second- and third-downs. Something to chew on going into today’s game.
Speaking of today’s game, the (not surprising) inactive list. Bradley Sowell will start as usual at left tackle, Jake Ballard gets a spin at some tight end:
— WR Brittan Golden (hamstring)
— QB Ryan Lindley
— RB Ryan Williams
— LB Dontay Moch
–G Earl Watford
— TE Kory Sperry
— DE Ronald Talley
Tags: Bradley Sowell, Football Outsiders, inactives, Jake Ballard, Texans
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It’s been mentioned more than a few times that cornerback Michael Adams is pound-for-pound perhaps the best tackler the Cards have on defense. Now there are some stats to back it up. A new study by FootballOutsiders.com shows the defensive players who are most effective in making the tackle after a pass reception, and “Money Mike” is listed as the second-best cornerback in the NFL, percentage-wise, in 2010. Adams is credited with 47 percent “successful” tackle rate (14 in 30 chances), behind only the Eagles’ Asante Samuel.
(Clarification: The success rate means of the 30 tackles Adams made on pass catchers, 14 were considered successes. FO’s Aaron Schatz said Adams had three missed tackles last year, about average.)
Adams has shortcomings because of his size, but there are good reasons why he has stuck on the roster. One is his superb special teams play. Another is his fundamental tackling skills, which would only seem to help in his quest to stick around seeing that new defensive coordinator Ray Horton has professed his love for defensive backs who can tackle.
The Cards actually had a handful of defenders who landed on the “best” lists for tackling on pass plays. Adrian Wilson was on the best list for safeties (although third safety Rashad Johnson was on the “worst” side) while Paris Lenon tied for the best percentage (54) among linebackers and Daryl Washington also ended up on the best linebackers list.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Asante Samuel, Daryl Washington, Football Outsiders, Michael Adams, Paris Lenon, Rashad Johnson, Ray Horton
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