Can DRC Keep the Cards Covered?

Calling Arizona's cornerbacks exposed in the playoffs last season is like calling the Grand Canyon a big hole in the ground. In two games against the Packers and Saints, the Cardinals gave up 651 yards and seven touchdowns through the air. Will things be different in 2010? Ryan Knowles breaks down Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the rest of the team's secondary.

While the Arizona Cardinals' cornerbacks are not the only ones to blame for the defensive breakdowns suffered a year ago, a change was needed in order to improve on the league's 23rd ranked pass defense. Part of that change came during the draft when the Cardinals shipped Bryant McFadden back to the Pittsburgh Steelers and plucked the speedy Jorrick Calvin from Troy in Round 6.

While no one expects Calvin to contribute right away, McFadden's exit creates an opening opposite Pro Bowler Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The early favorite to fill that opening is second-year corner Greg Toler. Toler struggled while adjusting to the speed of the pro game, but came on late last season and earned the confidence of the coaching staff. Toler's overall skill-set is quickly improving and he's on the short list for this year's most improved player.


Michael Adams
(Getty)

Arizona also helped its cause by bringing in veterans Justin Miller and Trumaine McBride to create competition and depth. McBride started nine games in his rookie campaign in 2007, but knee and groin injuries have since hampered his career. Miller is a talented secondary member and kick returner who earned Pro Bowl honors in 2007 with the New York Jets. Like McBride, Miller's career has been marred by injuries, but he has the speed and playmaking ability to make an impact.

Another player to watch in the Cardinals' secondary will be Michael Adams who enters his fourth season in Arizona. Adams has shined on special teams, but was relied upon heavily in pass coverage last season when injuries struck several players late in the year. Adams was picked on often, but performed admirably and will be most remembered for causing the game-clinching fumble against the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs. Adams will likely be in the mix for the nickel back throughout training camp.

The Cardinals looked formidable at times in pass defense during the 2009 campaign, but must work on being consistent in the secondary. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis has adequate talent at his disposal, but that talent will need to play well as a unit in order to progress accordingly.


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