But Cofield again this week was blocked too easily one-on-one, and that led to Fletcher and ILB Rocky McIntosh having to contend with offensive linemen. He was in on two of the three draw plays that gashed the Redskins in the second half.
On one, C Lyle Sendlein passed Cofield to the guard as Cofield rushed upfield and took himself out of the play. Sendlein, meanwhile, released to he second level. On the other, Cofield couldn’t get off Sendlein’s block in time to make the tackle.
On a 9-yard run on the first play of the second half, Cofield tried to penetrate by swimming past Sendlein. Sendlein used Cofield’s move against him by staying low and driving into his body when Cofield rose up to bring his arm over. LG Daryn Colledge picked the block up there and drove him out of the middle, creating the running lane for RB Beanie Wells.
As I mentioned, though, it wasn’t all bad from Cofield. Perhaps I’m holding him to a higher standard because he played well in the preseason and is the highest-profile free agent addition to the defense.
CB DeAngelo Hall defended Cardinals All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald well except for the 73-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. That’s a pretty big exception, obviously. The mixed results are why he ends up listed here instead of one of the above categories.
Hall flipped sides of the field to cover Fitzgerald, which is unusual. He normally plays exclusively on the left, but defensive coordinator Jim Haslett afforded him more freedom in that regard. He often gave Fitzgerald a cushion of approximately seven yards and played outside leverage with safety help inside and underneath. The strategy worked for the most part, limiting Fitzgerald to short catches on quick passes. Hall tackled well, which is essential when allowing those cushions, and he drove on a couple routes to get his hands on passes.
On the touchdown, Hall was exposed by the Redskins‘ 5-man blitz against a five-receiver formation. The Redskins overloaded the left side of the offense, perhaps hoping QB Kevin Kolb would throw hot in that direction instead of to Fitzgerald on the right. But Kolb bought time by rolling right, and Hall was beaten without any safety help. I still haven’t seen a quality replay of exactly how Hall was beaten, but knowing he had no help, jumping anything short would be a mistake.
Overall, Hall is off to a great start this year.
ILB Rocky McIntoshwas too inconsistent for either of the above categories. As the Cardinals spread the Redskins‘ defense with four receivers and gashed them with the draw out of the shotgun three times in the second half, McIntosh appeared to take poor angles – though we can’t be sure of his assignments on those plays. His angles were problematic at times last season, as well. He got caught too far inside several times on Sunday.
McIntosh also failed to set the edge on RB Beanie Wells’ 1-yard touchdown in the second half. FB Anthony Sherman got to his outside shoulder and sealed him down, allowing Wells to trot across the goal line.
But on the positive side, McIntosh recorded a sack off a quality read. On first-and-10 from Washington’s 16-yard line, he was shadowing RB Beanie Wells off the snap. When Wells stayed in to protect, McIntosh walked up to the line. He then sprinted forward when Wells stepped up to block OLB Brian Orakpo, and he came free for the sack.
Rocky also made a critical tackle on the first play of Arizona’s three-and-out late in the game. LB Daryn Colledge got to the second level on a running play, but he wasn’t aggressive in trying to block McIntosh. McIntosh slid inside him and made the tackle for a gain of 3. That set up second- and third-and long situations in which the Redskins were able to blitz seven and ultimately get off the field.
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