Arizona Has DRC, Now What?

When your secondary gives up 232 passing yards per game, ranking your team 28th in the league, chances are some changes are going to be made. Ken Whisenhunt has begun the process by picking up Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, moving Antrel Rolle to safety and more with hopes that his secondary can turn the tables. AZRedReport.com's James Jones analyzes where the unit ranks against the NFC West.

Arizona had high hopes for the 2007 season, feeling as though they had made the neccesary adjustments to compete in the NFC and make their first postseason appearance since 1998. One of the most integral pieces of their team, the defensive backfield was sure to be an anchor for them as they trudged through the 16 opponents they would face. In a true testament to unexpected turns and unforseen circumstances, the season didn't go as initially planned.

Adrian Wilson, one of the most prolific safeties in the NFL was injured in early November and placed on injured reserve on November 28th. Aaron Francisco, who is no longer with the team, played for the remainder of the season. With Terrence Holt at free safety, Eric Green and Antrel Rolle at the corner spots, Whisenhunt hoped for the best but received the worst as the defense found it difficult to stop the pass.

Wilson is expected to be back this season and with Rolle moving from corner to free safety, great things are expected of the duo. The defensive backfield will certainly have to play a large role by forcing more fumbles and picking off more passes. With ball-hawking Wilson on the field that could very well happen, if he stays injury-free.

Rod Graves went into last month's draft with some clear needs on both sides of the ball. He utilized his first-round pick to draft Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. He'll battle it out with the incumbents for a starting role.

In his four seasons at Tennessee State, Rodgers-Cromartie posted 25 passed defensed and 11 interceptions for 281 return yards. However the corners depth shapes up, the Cardinals are counting on the unit to make some noise and present difficulty for opposing teams' passing games.

Around the West

Being that the Seattle Seahawks were once again the division winner, it makes sense that they lead the West in talent for almost every position. Their secondary surrendered a division low 219 passing yards per game and they don't appear to be faltering here. With Marcus Trufant and Kelly Jennings once again projected to man the corner and Deon Grant and Bryan Russell at the safety spots look for this unit to be good again.

The San Francisco 49ers also have high hopes for their secondary last season after bringing in great talents in Nate Clements and Michael Lewis. Just as the Cardinals did, they too faltered, giving up a division high 227 yards passing per contest. Clements and Walt Harris will most likely be the starting corners with Lewis and Mark Roman at the safeties. Look for 2007 fifth round pick Tarell Brown and this year's third rounder, Reggie Smith to fight with nickel-back incumbent Shawntae Spencer for playing time.

The St. Louis Rams were a team that some predicted to win the NFC West last season. Giving up 225 yards per game through the air will quell those thoughts very fast though. The Rams should trot out Tye Hill and Fakir Brown again at cornerback and Corey Chavous is a mainstay at strong safety. Oshiomogho Atogwe should win back the starting free safety spot but the team drafted linebacker Chris Chamberlain in the seventh round this year and plan on converting him to safety.


CardinalsSource Top Stories