TEMPE, Ariz. -- For all the concern and preparation that went into playing three mobile quarterbacks in as many weeks, it turns out they haven’t been as much of an issue as expected.
And the Cardinals hope the same goes for Seattle’s Russell Wilson on Thursday night.
Arizona slowed Carolina quarterback Cam Newton two weeks ago, limiting him to 25 yards on the ground, seven below his average. And on Sunday, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran for just 18 yards, about 13 under his weekly average.
The Cardinals’ defense has a lot to do with limiting both signal-callers from taking off on foot. Arizona is allowing just 3.46 yards per rush, the fourth best mark in the league. Wilson is averaging 5.9 yards per carry and is second on the Seahawks with 294 rushing yards.
Nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu said the Cardinals’ defensive philosophy against running quarterbacks is to funnel them outside.
“Everyone knows their assignments and what we need to do to stop them,” Ta’amu said. “A lot of the ways they like to escape was through the middle and me and [nose tackle] Dan [Williams] made it a point where that’s where they’re not going to try to escape.
“We’re going to hold it down in the middle and hopefully push them out toward [defensive end] Calais [Campbell] and [defensive tackle Darnell] Dockett to let them do what they do best.”
This week, Arizona defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles said he hopes Wilson wants to stay in the pocket. But with his reputation of liking to scramble, that’s not likely. But as long as the Cardinals can contain Wilson out of the pocket and force him to throw, they might be in better shape than they expect.
Wilson’s completion percentage this season outside the pocket is 52.8, down almost nine points from last season. He’s thrown just one touchdown compared to two interceptions while on the move.
“It’s like he’s playing street football out there,” Ta’amu said. “He doesn’t give up on a play. He’s trying to make something of every play.
“You just can’t give up on him. He looks like he’s going down but he’s not. He likes to extend plays and make plays.”