After the Dallas Cowboys suffered an embarrassing loss last week, they enter this week with an extra day of practice and rest. They travel to face the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night. Let’s examine the Cardinals offense.
Carson Palmer is coming off of an underwhelming performance against the Colts in week two and now shifts his attention to the Dallas Cowboys defense. Carson Palmer has faced the Cowboys three times in his career, most recently in 2014 when he led the Cardinals to victory in Dallas. Against the Cowboys, he has a 62% completion percentage, six touchdowns and two interceptions. This year, thus far, he has recorded a 54% completion percentage with 600 yards but only two touchdowns.
The Cowboys pressured Eli Manning and Trevor Siemian throughout the game and this game will be no different. Look for Demarcus Lawrence to lead an inspired defensive line against a relatively immobile quarterback. While Siemian was elusive and effective with four passing touchdowns, Palmer is not a threat to leave the pocket and run.
The offensive line in front of Carson Palmer consists of D.J. Humphries (injured), Mike Iupati at left guard (injured), A.Q. Shipley at center, Evan Boehm at right guard and Jared Veldheer at right tackle. John Wetzel and Alex Boone had to man the left tackle and guard spots because of injuries last week. This group has allowed five sacks this season and no longer has the luxury to play in front of superstar David Johnson. They played poorly last week getting beat in one-on-one situations far to often in pass protection. This group will be tested quickly and often against a Dallas defensive line that is looking to reset the team’s attitude in the trenches.
The Arizona Cardinals were dealt the toughest blow of this young season when they lost David Johnson for 8-12 weeks with a broken wrist. While replacing him is nearly impossible, it adds immense pressure on an aging Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals now feature Kerwynn Williams and Andre Ellington as the lead running backs. The wide receivers include veteran Larry Fitzgerald, Jaron Brown, Brittan Golden and J.J. Nelson as John Brown has suffered a quadriceps injury. Thus far, Nelson has been the primary target for Palmer and has already recorded 163 yards and two touchdowns this season.
The Dallas secondary will again have their hands full this week as they face off against future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald and Nelson. What remains to be seen is if Dallas’s injured secondary comes back to full speed. Will Dallas be able to rely on Nolan Carroll and Chidobe Awuzie or will it have trust Jourdan Lewis again? Now that Dallas does not have to focus on David Johnson’s ability to run and catch the ball, the defense will have to force the Cardinals offense to be one-dimensional.
The revolving door on the offensive line for the Cardinals can be a major issue for Arizona this week. The Dallas defensive line has been criticized in the past but look for Demarcus Lawrence to lead the charge and make the pocket uncomfortable for Palmer. The Cowboys should be able to pressure the quarterback effectively, and without David Johnson, should be able to slow down the Cardinals offense.