Bucannon helps secondary's run support

May, 22, 2014
May 22
8:45
PM ET
Based on last year, it's not like the Arizona Cardinals need help against the run.

The Cardinals finished 2013 ranked first in stopping the run, allowing 84.4 yards per game. But it never hurts to add more run support, especially in the secondary.

When Arizona drafted safety Deone Bucannon out of Washington State, the Cardinals found a hard-hitter who may just like playing the run more than playing the pass.

"I mean, he loves it," Washington State coach Mike Leach said. "He wishes they ran it every time. He likes the pass, don't get me wrong. I think he likes the hits on the run because on the run he's almost guaranteed to run forward and hit something. So, he likes that."

Facing Bucannon twice, Arizona State coach Todd Graham said the safety was tough to run against. He didn't bite on play-action passes and stayed in his gaps.

"He's a guy that I thought was very decisive in his key reading," Graham said.

Last season the Cardinals allowed just 37 rushes of 10 yards or longer. Their secondary had 124 tackles on running plays, second fewest in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information. But Arizona's secondary was one of four units that didn't force a fumble on a running play last season.

That's where Bucannon's passion for hitting may come in handy.

Cardinals defensive backs coach Nick Rapone plans on using Bucannon in the box against the run. Having a presence in the secondary against the run will benefit the Cardinals in the NFC West.

"How does it help us?" Rapone asked. "If you look, the Super Bowl champion does what? They run the football. San Francisco runs the football 52 percent of the time. The Rams run the football. I mean our conference is old-style football. You better be physical.

"So, now we've gone out and -- we already have a physical secondary -- we've just added to our collection of physical kids."

Josh Weinfuss

ESPN Arizona Cardinals reporter

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