The last highlight I saw from the Cardinals is that the defense still looks like they’re going to be one of the better units in the league. There’s a drop-off from last year’s unit for a variety of reasons, such as Todd Bowles leaving to become head coach of the New York Jets, losing several players like Cromartie, and Darnel Dockett.
Overall, the unit overall still looks to be above-average overall; good against the pass and great against run. Arians did take a jab at the new DC James Bettcher during the live broadcast of the game, saying he got too “conservative” when it came to play calling, but that’s to be expected from a rookie DC.
There were plenty of bright spots on the defensive side, though. Plenty of the rookies and veterans guys showed why they deserve to make the final 53 or why they deserve to be the starter.
Justin Bethel, for example—the projected outside starting corner—showed that he’s more than just a special teams gunner, he showed that he can actually play the position; making several plays – swatting the ball down, blanketing the receivers he was covering, or going in and finishing a tackle with authority.
Rookies like Markus Golden (their second round pick) were showing that the Cardinals were wise to draft him. Golden showed an extremely high motor, just relentlessly attacking the offensive line, and getting pressure on the opposing quarterback.
Overall, the defense looks poised to be great and the Cardinals certainly have depth at a different number of positions to hide any deficiencies that may arise.
Next: The Bad