The future of the Cardinals’ blitz

Posted by Darren Urban on July 1, 2015 – 11:58 am

Anyone who has watched much of the Cardinals the past two seasons knows the defense liked to blitz. So this recent tweet carries with it little surprise in the context of the NFL:

It was the hallmark of then-defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Bring the heat, let it all sort itself out in the end. It’s why the Cardinals went for Antonio Cromartie last offseason — they wanted those press man-to-man corners to be able to survive on an island. It’s a byproduct too of not having that dynamic edge pass rusher to cause problems with a “normal” four-man rush. Now you can argue in this day and age that even bringing five rushers isn’t exactly a blitz, but there were plenty of times the Cards brought at least six guys too.

What happens now? The feeling is that the defense, even under James Bettcher, won’t change a lot. That would include the blitzing. I mean, the Cardinals still don’t have that 14-sack guy coming from the outside (although maybe Alex Okafor can raise his production from his somewhat surprising eight-sack total last season.) The pressure will still have to be manufactured through scheme, it would seem. How Bettcher calls a game won’t be known for real until the Cards open against the Saints Sept. 13 (and what a passing offense to open against.)

Certainly, I’d think Bowles will take his blitzing to New York. But it’s hard to imagine that aggressiveness — which has served the Cardinals well — is going away under Bettcher.

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15 Responses to “The future of the Cardinals’ blitz”

  1. By Crazy Bird on Jul 1, 2015 | Reply

    Cardinal D

  2. By El Birderino on Jul 1, 2015 | Reply

    Breaking news the Cowboys have just cut Jerry Jones’ plastic surgeon? Do you think Pete Carrol is interested in picking him up?

  3. By Dynosoar on Jul 1, 2015 | Reply

    Up the havoc level!

  4. By Fitzfan on Jul 1, 2015 | Reply

    I feel like the blitzing became too exploitable in the second half of the season. The offenses knew they were coming and were able to pick them up and also find receivers since they knew the secondary of the Cardinals were playing man-to-man. The defense ranked quite poorly by the end of the season. I would rather see a more traditional defense that was solid and not risk vs reward the entire game.

  5. By georgiebird on Jul 1, 2015 | Reply

    Cards played against a lot of bad/mediocre QBs in 2014. In those cases, blitzing the QB is a good play.

  6. By fozzybear on Jul 1, 2015 | Reply

    The Cardinals like to blitz through the run gaps. They have the talented personnel to make it work. If it was a run, its stuffed. If its a pass they just keep on going. With Honey Badger back, I cant wait for Seattle and Wilson. Seahawks only win because of 2 or 3 plays that break down and Wilson completes some ridiculous play. . . like a pass that hits the ref, bounces off the lady in the first row, and lands in the hands of the reciever who fell down and had time to get back up and catch it. . .really? We’ll see. . .

  7. By CardinalChris on Jul 1, 2015 | Reply

    I would want to know more info about situations Cards were blitzing. Did we have our opponents in 3rd and long more often than other teams? Blitzing makes QB get rid of the ball quicker which is great strategy on 3rd and long. How many blitzes were on 1st down? Does this include blitzes on running plays? or just when the QB dropped back? I think defense was on field at end of a lot of games the first half of the year – did we blitz more then? or less? Whatever the plan was against Seattle, need to adjust unless D Wash is back by then…

  8. By Dynosoar on Jul 1, 2015 | Reply

    Imagine having at least one ILB and one OLB that can regularly get to the QB. What some call legit LBs.

    Then dialing up more blitzes than any two teams combined.

    Up the havoc level!

  9. By Dynosoar on Jul 2, 2015 | Reply


    those are some good questions.

  10. By jeffgollin on Jul 2, 2015 | Reply

    Gotta make up for the loss of Cro if the blitz is to consistently work.

  11. By Mick on Jul 2, 2015 | Reply

    We don’t have the corners to Blitz as frequently as we did last year. To echo the sentiment of a few other people in the earlier posts, teams know that we are Blitz happy and in the second half of the season they picked our secondary apart because of all of the man to man coverage and the gambling done by defensive backs. We need LB’s that can run with Tight Ends and backs out of the backfield and we need Defensive Ends that can put some heat on the QB so we can keep our safeties back and not get beaten over the top

  12. By T-Roy on Jul 6, 2015 | Reply

    Everyone keep in mind that our offense struggled at the end of the year last year and that took a HUGE toll on our D. When we have to get off the filed for rest, we did pretty good. As far as the O staying on the filed longer, well, we all know what happened at the end. That plays a huge part. Since CP is back and we have a better backfield, a BETTER O-Line and another year together in these areas, could be for some great stuff in 2015. Our D will have some changes because new D-Coord is going to want to make a name for himself. Will be great to watch and see how he handles some situations. He will be great. My personal belief.

  13. By Marcelof on Jul 6, 2015 | Reply

    well, We have new blood on the D side of the ball now which, by reading the comments on their skillsets, I am really looking forward to them putting up big numbers.

    We may not have Cromartie back, but our Safety’s duo will excel, giving Passers trouble on long shots.

    For now I think Cardinals seem to be in a better position on defense compared to last year’s (despite the rookies’s inexperience), moreover the Attack will dominate keeping the Defenders rested for as long as possible. We will run offenses over, you’ll see!

    as a Brazilian I just get more and more amazed by this game

  14. By Scott H on Jul 6, 2015 | Reply

    Mick –

    RE: We don’t have the corners to blitz like we did last year

    I hear ya. And that may be accurate. But you know Bowles was gonna blitz no matter what. His corners could have been Cagney and Lacy, and he still would have brought it.

    This season? Remains to be seen. I think we have to hope that Peterson reverts to his previous levels of dominance to off-set the loss of Cromartie ( which was huge ). If Peterson truly reverts to being great again, and one of the young CB’s can play solid on the other side, we’re probably just as good. At that position, anyway, we’re probably just as good.

  15. By Big Ken on Aug 19, 2015 | Reply


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