Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Arizona Preview Addendum

I wanted to add a few thoughts to Colin's preview below, because there is one falsehood perpetrated by the media that needs to stop. You've read the below multiple times...

"The Cardinals ended up being much better than the record indicated, as they were one of the only teams with a top 10 offense and top 10 defense."

I think it's important to realize that the Cardinals most definitely did NOT have top 10 units, in fact it's likely they barely had top 20 units.

Why?

Start with the offense and the dreaded yards-per-game statistic. Yes, the Cardinals averaged 348.4 ypg, good for 8th in the NFL. However, hopefully we've sufficiently stated so far how useless that stat is.

How about these?

The Cardinals had one of the worst 3rd down completion percentages (38.1%) and a beyond abysmal 4th down rate (31.2%). On top of that the offense was penalized 145 times, only Oakland at 147 was flagged more. This is indicative of an awful offensive line. More holding, can't move the line, no push, etc. Sure, you can wing it down the field now and then, and when you have Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin you will pick up some yards with that, but this offensive line is just awful.

Remember Power Success and Stuffed?

The Cardinals had a Power Success of 41%. Let's dwell on that. 6 out of every 10 times the offensive line was asked to create space they failed. Wow. The Stuffed rate isn't much better, at 32%, indicating (as we already knew) the Cardinals could not run the football. Both stats are easily the worst in the NFL. To address this the Cardinals drafted a guard and signed a legitimate impact player. Unfortunately, I've only seen one running back (Barry Sanders) who could gain yards behind a terrible line. I don't think Edgerrin James is going to live up to the hype and it isn't going to be his fault... if the first two preseason games are any indication this is pretty representative.

I think this can clearly establish that the offense is not yet ready to enter elite status.

What about the defense?

Again, at 295.6 ypg allowed the Cardinals were 8th in the league. I remember the games against Seattle, however, where the gaping holes for Shaun Alexander were plentiful. This is not a team that is good against the run. Back to Football Outsiders... the Cards had a defensive Power Success of 59%, not too shabby, and a rather surprising #2 ranking in Stuffed. So perhaps the run defense was better than it showed against us, and maybe the signing of Russell Davis by the Hawks was pretty underrated. With all that, the overall run defense ranks 20th at FO. What about against the pass? They are squarely in the middle of the pack in adjusted sack rate at 17th and for some reason Outsiders doesn't have a good stat to go through pass defense. Suffice it to say, though, that the pass defense is not fantastic, although there is reason for upside, namely Antrell Rolle.

Look, as Colin wrote below the Cardinals are on the right track, but to get caught up in the top 10 hype is just that... hype. So please ignore the pundits. Now.

posted by Gavin @ 12:57 PM  0 comments

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