NFC West: 2013 Week 3 ARI at NOR Rapid Reaction
September, 22, 2013
By Josh Weinfuss | ESPN.com
NEW ORLEANS -- A few thoughts on the Arizona Cardinals' 31-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
What it means: The Cardinals' offense was in a state of disarray for three-and-a-half quarters. They had a picturesque opening drive and then slowed down to a crawl, punting on eight straight possessions before quarterback Carson Palmer threw an interception. The Cardinals abandoned what worked, running the ball, and then lookied to Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. It resulted in 22 yards offense in the third quarter. The middle of Sunday’s game reminiscent of last year’s offense under former coach Ken Whisenhunt.
Stock watch: Darnell Dockett is back. He had three sacks for the third time in his career, twice as many as he had all of last season (1.5). He was dominant inside without nose tackle Dan Williams, who missed Sunday’s game after his father was killed in a car accident en route from Memphis to New Orleans for the game. Dockett got to Drew Brees almost at will.
Taking off the edge: Levi Brown found himself facing another speed rusher Sunday and Saints OLB Junior Galette made him pay. Brown struggled off the edge and Galette had one sack. On the other side, Eric Winston couldn’t contain New Orleans defensive end Cameron Jordan, who had two sacks. The Cardinals gave Winston help early, stacking multiple tight ends on his side, but when the formation called for no help, the Saints took advantage.
Missing Washington: The Cardinals saw it last week against the Lions and then this week in New Orleans -- they don’t have a fast enough linebacker to match up with the other team’s stars. Jimmy Graham had 134 yards receiving, largely because the Cardinals don't have anyone to hang with him. Tight ends have hurt the Cardinals all season, starting with St. Louis’ Jared Cook and now Graham. The Cardinals’ secondary was too small to defend Graham effectively, but then again so is every secondary.
What's next: The Cardinals will spend a week in Florida before taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.