So, I've just finished a scouting report on the Cardinals:
From their offensive side of the ball: They probably closest resemble us in the way their offense runs. Not surprising considering when I looked back at our games this year I thought the Colt's resembled us a lot too, and Arians came from the Colt's. They are much more of a power run game team. This is going to put a lot on our 3 down lineman in the run game. They need to eat up double team blocks to free up the LB's to be able to make the plays. If our DT's try and be hero's and make the tackle themselves, AZ's run game with make the game a lot harder.
Aldon Smith, Brooks, and Skuta will have to really strap it on this week. Last time, as well as against Seattle, they ran a lot off Tackle. Lemonier struggled at times against the run, and then they would go with a twin receiver set on Skuta's side to draw him outside and run off T. They didn't run at Brook's too much, but, with Aldon back they'll probably try and attack both edges. This means that Whitner and Reid are going to have to play disciplined in the secondary.
I see Fangio running a lot of cover 3 with the weakside safety taking the flat coverage. This will bring a safety moving downhill against the run to protect any cutback lanes. Also, don't expect too many stunts on 1st or 2nd down as those will be the primary run downs for AZ, if you stunt the wrong way against a power run team, you're screwed. Instead, I expect us to blitz more than we did against the Falcons. Willis will be the primary guy in coverage with Bowman being the blitzer - look for Bow to blitz the "A" gaps on early downs and then help with some stunts on 3rd and long passing situations. If we get pressure on Palmer, he can make some terrible decisions; but, make no mistake, Palmer has one of the best arms in the league. He can make every throw on the field and can throw a beautiful touch pass. His biggest weakness is when he tries to force a pass or gets pressured into a bad decision.
I see them trying to Isolate Fitz on Brock, Brock gave up the big TD to fitz in our last meeting. Also, Fitz hurt Seattle with some double moves - which Brock is susceptible to.
From the defensive side:
A lot of people compare AZ's defense to Seattle, because they play a lot of man coverage with a single high safety. However, to me, they are much different. Seattle plays a 6-2 front almost all the time. AZ's defense is very similar to the type of defense the Jets ran with Revis. They run a 5-2 with a safety usually in the box. A 5-2 is different from a 3-4 in the DT's. 3-4 has a Nose and 2 DE's(playing inside shade of the T or wider) with 2 OLB's, a 5-2 is playing with a NT and 2 DT's(outside shade of the guard or closer), and 2 DE's. This allows their LB's to roam around a lot and their LB's have good sideline to sideline speed. Dansby wants DPOY but I think a lot of his numbers have to do with a very friendly scheme more than him being an All-pro. Don't get me wrong, he makes some outstanding plays, but the scheme also allows him to freely roam a lot. AZ can really play their scheme because of Patrick Peterson - to me, he's the defensive MVP of that team.
Expect us to run the ball off Guard. AZ's 5 man front makes it very difficult to run at the edges. We had no success doing it last time and Seattle had a couple chunk plays, but other than that, nothing. Most success comes from running it at their DT's. Expect a lot of "Wham" plays and quick hitting traps inside. We're going to have some of these blown up, be patient, when you run inside like that you'll have a lot of "1 yard gain", "10 yard gain", "0 yard gain" "8yard gain". sort of plays. It's not as consistent, but, it's how we're going to get our run game going.
We're going to run a lot of "21" personnel. The mistake a lot of teams make against AZ, is thinking that you have to spread the field to attack them. This is exactly what they want you to do. They have a good secondary who can play good man coverage. They will consistently leave Peterson on an island. Against us, on 90-95% of the plays, they ran a single high safety with the safety shaded away from Peterson. What I mean is, the safety wasn't in the middle of the field. He would usually be on the opposite hash mark than the side Peterson was on. This is just what the Jets did with Revis. Peterson never gets safety help. Because of this, the other CB's have an easier time in their man coverage cause they have safety help with AZ coming with 5-6 man pressures all the time. If you try and spread the field, the pass rush will devastate you.
I see us trying to figure out who Peterson will be shadowing early in the game, then isolating that receiver as the "X" receiver(away from the TE) and running a lot of combinations with the "Y" and "Z". This will get the Z(either Boldin or Crabs) in 1-1's with the #2 corner; or, get VD free over the top or 1-1 with a LB or S.
I see us actually including some screen passes in this game on some 3rd and longer situations. AZ LOVES to pressure the "A" gaps. Very much a Dom Capers type of pressure. They love to blitz Washington and Dansby in the "A" gaps. This is where Dansby has gotten a lot of his sacks, he's gotten free releases on QB's because they overload the interior. We could use some screens to counter this.
If you have any questions about what AZ will do feel free to ask.