Somers, McManaman talk Cardinals injuries and Eagles | 3:27
Cardinals insiders Kent Somers and Bob McManaman discuss the Cardinals’ injury situation and their upcoming road game at Philadelphia.
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Harold Goodwin talks offensive struggles and getting back to the run game | 1:33
Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin breaks down the first few weeks of struggles and keeping the quarterback upright after practice on Thursday, October 5, 2017.
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Bruce Arians talks about the Las Vegas mass shooting | 0:36
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians: “It’s another tragedy and it kinda puts football back in place.” Video: Michael Chow/azcentral.com
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Bruce Arians talks about his QB | 0:49
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians talks about his quarterback play, the hits he’s taking and hints at a no-huddle offense. Michael Chow/azcentral sports
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Monday report: Latest on Arizona Cardinals | 4:02
Cardinals Insiders Kent Somers and Bob McManaman report from the team’s headquarters after an OT win against the 49ers. Michael Chow/azcentral sports
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Shot Clock: What we know about Cards, NFL now | 1:55
azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Kent Somers discuss the state of the NFL and the Arizona Cardinals after the season’s first four weeks.
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Somers, Bickley discuss Cardinals win over 49ers | 2:48
Cardinals insider Kent Somers and columnist Dan Bickley discuss a win the team needed over the 49ers.
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Cardinals discuss win over the 49ers | 1:18
Larry Fitzgerald: It was a must-win game in October.
Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
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Somers and McManaman talk Cardinals injuries | 3:02
Cardinals reports Kent Somers and Bob McManaman discuss a growing injury concern after Friday’s practice.
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Deone Bucannon on his return to the field for Cardinals | 1:34
Cardinals safety Deone Bucannon is back from injury and is slated to play against San Francisco. He is excited to be back in playing condition. || Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Somers and McManaman at Cards practice Wednesday | 2:31
Kent Somers and Bob McManaman of azcentral sports break down the Arizona Cardinals after practice at the Tempe training facility, Wednesday, September 27, 2017.
Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Carson Palmer looks ahead to 49ers | 1:34
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer talks about adjusting to the loss of running back David Johnson and looks ahead to the game with the San Francisco 49ers. || Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Somers and McManaman on the Cardinals following loss to Cowboys | 2:53
Azcentral sports’ Kent Somers and Bob McManaman on the Cardinals’ loss to the Cowboys and where they are at heading toward their game against the 49ers next week.
David Wallace/azcentral sports
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Arians recaps the Cardinals’ loss to the Cowboys | 1:19
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians recaps the Cardinals’ loss to the Cowboys on Monday night. David Wallace/azcentral sports
David Wallace/ azcentral sports
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Somers, McManaman talk Cardinals injuries and Eagles
Harold Goodwin talks offensive struggles and getting back to the run game
Bruce Arians talks about the Las Vegas mass shooting
Bruce Arians talks about his QB
Monday report: Latest on Arizona Cardinals
Shot Clock: What we know about Cards, NFL now
Somers, Bickley discuss Cardinals win over 49ers
Cardinals discuss win over the 49ers
Somers and McManaman talk Cardinals injuries
Deone Bucannon on his return to the field for Cardinals
Somers and McManaman at Cards practice Wednesday
Carson Palmer looks ahead to 49ers
Somers and McManaman on the Cardinals following loss to Cowboys
Arians recaps the Cardinals’ loss to the Cowboys
The great Vince Lombardi knew a thing or two million about football and one of the most critical elements to winning a game, he used to say, was the fine yet brutal art of tackling.
“If a man is running down the street with everything you own, you won’t let him get away. That’s tackling,” Lombardi said.
When it comes to run defense in today’s NFL, almost nobody tackles as well as the Cardinals. Arizona’s defense has snuffed out opposing rushing attacks at an alarming rate and kept some of the league’s very best running backs from even getting a sniff of 100 yards.
Entering Sunday’s game at Lincoln Financial Field against the Eagles, the Cardinals have gone 17 consecutive games without allowing a 100-yard rusher. They’ve also held opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing as a team in six straight games. Both represent the longest active such streaks in the NFL.
“We take pride in what we do,” Cardinals inside linebacker Karlos Dansby said. “Be consistent. That’s the hardest thing to do is to be consistent in this league. Trying to hold a running back under 100 yards – and an entire team under 100 yards rushing – that’s a hard thing to do. They get paid well.
“But it’s about being relentless and consistent. That’s it. It takes a lot of effort, a lot of preparation in order to be consistent in this league. Especially with something like that. You have to be prideful about stopping the run. And we are, man.”
Since Bruce Arians’ arrival as head coach in 2013, the Cardinals have finished among the league’s Top 10 rushing defenses three times. They led the league that first season, allowing just 84.4 yards per game. They finished sixth overall in 2015 (93.0), ninth last season (94.9) and presently are 10th (88.0).
In 36 games since James Bettcher took over as defensive coordinator for Todd Bowles, the Cardinals have allowed a 100-yard rusher in a game just three times. In that same stretch, Arizona has held opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards as a team 23 times. Only the Carolina Panthers (24) have held teams under 100 yards overall more times during that same span.
“We’re better. We’re getting better,” Arians said. “We are getting back to where we were.”
Tackling will be a huge priority this week against the Eagles (3-1), who rank third in the league in rushing at 143 yards per game. They’ve gained 407 yards on the ground the past two weeks, including a 136-yard effort by LeGarrette Blount last Sunday during a 26-24 victory over the Chargers.
Bettcher said his defense has to be ready for anything against the Eagles.
CARDINALS 2017 SCHEDULE: Big road test awaits in Philadelphia
“In the run game, they’re going to stretch you, they’re going to zone you and they’re going to pull guys,” he said. “You’re going to have to be great with your eyes. You’re going to have to have really good edges in the run game. If our edge are soft, we’ll have some issues in the run game. If we have great edges, we’ll have a chance to bottle it up and tackle between the tackles.”
At 6 feet, 250 pounds, Blount is built like a runaway beer truck. He doesn’t offer a defense very many good angles to tackle him, Dansby said, and even when he does, he’s constantly churning his legs and moving his feet during the process. It’s easier trying to wrestle a Great Dane into the bathtub.
“Group tackling, man. That’s how we’ve got to do it,” said Cardinals safety Tyvon Branch, who ranks fifth in the league with 39 tackles. “He’s a big guy so you don’t want to put guys in situations where they have to make a one-on-one tackle with him. Everybody just needs to be swarming to the ball.
“He’s a hard-working back. You’ve got to go to work and bring your lunch pail when you play against him.”
Bettcher said Arizona’s run defense has had success because of precise coordination between the linebackers and defensive linemen and the run support help from safeties. The Cardinals, he said, also spent an inordinate amount of time in meetings anticipating exactly how opposing teams will try to run the ball against them and at whom, specifically.
“Understanding those things,” he said, “have allowed us to play fast.”
Dansby is back with the Cardinals for a third time and the 35-year-old said he feels “honored” to be a part of this particular defense, which he says has, “talent all the way across the board.”
“A lot of experience, a lot of skill, a lot of versatility,” he said. “It’s a blessing to be on this defense, man. Especially with the way we stop the run. I mean, they’re trying to break us, we’re trying to snuff them out. We put a lot of emphasis on it; that we have to stop the run in order to give ourselves a chance to win the ballgame.”
Ask Branch which streak by the Cardinals’ run defense is more beneficial – the 17 consecutive games without allowing a 100-yard rusher or the six straight without allowing a team to rush for 100 – and he will say neither, actually.
“What’s most beneficial to us is winning,” Branch said. “Whatever we’ve got to do to win and stop the run and stop the pas, that’s the main goal. Just go out there and win.”
MORE CARDS: Arizona Cardinals offense remains a fixer-upper
Reach McManaman at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @azbobbymac and listen to him live every Wednesday night between 7-9 on Fox Sports 910-AM on The Freaks with Kenny and Crash.