With the New York Giants facing the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, we turn to SB Nation's Cardinals blog, 'Revenge of the Birds', for insight about Arizona. Here is our weekly 'Five Questions' segment, this time featuring Jess Root of ROTB.
Ed: Antrel Rolle said this week the Cardinals are "going to come in very cocky" for Sunday's game. Is he right? Are you looking at this as a "should win" for Arizona?
Jess: I am looking at the game as a "should win," but I tend to do that for most games. The Cardinals do have a bit of swagger to them. They know they are a talented bunch, but I don't know that they will come in thinking too highly of themselves. They have suffered enough losses to important personnel that being cocky does really make sense. And even after a 10-win season, they still haven't proven anything. Nonetheless, after getting a win over a very talented San Diego team and seeing what happened to the Giants, Arizona "should" win this game if both teams look anything like they did on Monday night.
Ed: If you were game-planning against the Cardinals how would you attack them? Both offensively and defensively?
Jess: If I am an offensive coordinator, I want to attack the middle of the field. The running game will struggle. The secondary is solid. The main weakness is plays in the middle of the field, as they have lost Daryl Washington and Karlos Dansby from last year. We'll see if covering tight ends is still a major issue. Antonio Gates had a solid game, so finding favorable match-ups with the tight end is another way to try and find success.
As a defense, it is about pressure on Carson Palmer. He is as good as any of the best QBs in football when he is not pressured. When he is pressured, you can get him to make that Carson Palmer throw he tends to make once or twice a game.
Ed: This is Bruce Arians second year as Cardinals head coach. What are your thoughts about Arians? How good of a coach is he?
Jess: Arians walks on water here. The proof is in the pudding. He led a 10-6 team in his first year. He is a very confident guy and appears to communicate very well with his players. He is a bold-faced liar with the media and he is a great guy to work with from a media standpoint because he gives you great one-liners. In terms of coaching, you have to say he is good. He is stubborn, but has built a staff that caters to the strengths of his player. It has worked very well so far.
Ed: If you could take one player off the Giants roster and put him in your starting lineup who would it be? Why?
Jess: I would take a healthy Jon Beason. It is where the Cardinals have a perceived weakness, although I don't know off the top of my head if he has played in a 3-4 before. He is a playmaker when healthy and the Cardinals really need that in the middle of the field with the losses they suffered.
Ed: Who are a couple of under the radar players, probably young guys, Giants fans should watch out for on Sunday?
Jess: Safeties Tony Jefferson and Deone Bucannon should be guys to watch. Jefferson was undrafted in 2013 and has held off the rookies first round pick Bucannon for the strong safety starting spot. He is around the ball a lot and very active. Bucannon has found a role as a "dollar" linebacker. The Cardinals run a lot of dime this year, bringing in a slot corner and then Bucannon to replace one of the inside backers. He is fast and loves to hit.
Thanks to Jess for his time. Stop by Revenge of the Birds for more updates on the Cardinals.