Thursday, September 5, 2013
Edge rush still concerns Cards
By Josh Weinfuss
It didn’t take Cardinals coach Bruce Arians more than a sentence to start talking about the St. Louis Rams’ defensive ends.
“I think one thing that (Rams coach) Jeff (Fisher) has always had is a great defense with great speed that gets after you off the edges,” Arians said. “And this one is outstanding.”
That's not what the Cardinals want to hear.
In last season’s game in the Edward Jones Dome, the Rams went off for nine sacks -- three alone by Robert Quinn -- in a 17-3 win. Granted, that was against an offensive line -- specifically D'Anthony Batiste -- that had already began to fall apart because of injuries, but nine is still a lofty number.
This season’s line is 60 percent different from last season’s opening day, including both tackles, left tackle Levi Brown and right tackle Eric Winston. Neither were part of last season’s performance, but neither wants a repeat performance.
“Any time you give up a bunch of sacks you definitely don’t want to do it again,” Winston said. “We’re going to do what we need to do. We’re going to go out there and play well. I’m not worried about what happened in the past. It was different coaches. It was different players. This is a new year, new regime for us.”
A fresh start could be the best thing for this season’s Cardinals. They’re not going to be muddled in last season’s dismal performance. When they look across at Quinn or Chris Long, they won’t worry about the 22 combined sacks the pair had in 2012, and have nightmares about them flying by on every play.
With Quinn and Long, the Rams don’t need to blitz as often as other teams to penetrate off the edge. It’ll just keep coming in waves.
But new faces mean a clean start. And Winston, who will face Long, knows what’s coming.
“They’re brining it on every rush,” Winston said. “I’ve played Chris Long since college, and you know what you’re going to get with him -- high energy, high effort, high motor.
“He’s talented he’s got a variety of rushes. Good strength, good speed. He’s really got it all. That’s why I think he was a top pick, and why he’s maintained that ability.”