Cleat Geeks

#RedSea London Takeover

Lavar Ball isn’t the only person in Los Angeles running his mouth these days. “Adrian Peterson is not Adrian Peterson in 2008, 2009. He’s not the same Adrian Peterson, and I think everybody knows that”, Rams Cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman after their win against Jacksonville last week. Apparently, Robey-Coleman was unaware that Peterson torched the Buccaneers defense to the tune of 134 yards and two TD’s on 26 carries, en route to earning NFC Player-of-the-Week honors. Nickell’s comments didn’t speak for the team as a whole though, as is teammate, running back Todd Gurley, had nothing but praise for the future Hall of Fame running back, “He’s the top of the food chain, the best of the best.”

The Cardinals look to creep above .500 for the first time this season in Week 7 as they take on the NFC West division-leading Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham Stadium in London. The 4-2 Rams currently hold a one game lead on the Cardinals. Early indications are that even though it’s technically a home game for the Rams and that the fan atmosphere for London games are seem to be mostly neutral, there’s a decent chance it might turn into a pro Cardinals atmosphere before too long.

Todd Gurley on his thoughts about having to play in a different country:

Gurley’s comments garnered some not so pleasant reactions from locals:

It doesn’t hurt that we have some allies:


Cardinals pub, The Admiralty, for the Big Red Rage on Thursday:

Now onto the game. With the addition of Adrian Peterson and the return of offensive linemen D.J. Humphries and Alex Boone, the offense received a much needed boost last week. The defense is hoping for some of the same as Tramon Williams is expected to replace Justin Bethel as the cornerback opposite of Patrick Peterson for today’s game.

While the Cardinals have two of the top eight rated safeties by Pro Football Focus in Tyvon Branch (3rd; Leads the NFL in tackles with 55) and Antoine Bethea (8th; Interceptions in three straight games), the teams cover corners not named Patrick Peterson have struggled mightily. Through the first six weeks of the season, Bethel and Tyrann Mathieu have both rated out as two of the poorer conerbacks in the game. Considering Mathieu is the tenth highest paid defensive back in the NFL this season, Bethel is the most obvious choice to be replaced. And for good reason.

On the Season, Bethel has an overall PFF grade of 44.5 and is currently ranked 99 of 108 eligible cornerbacks. Bethel has given up six touchdowns this season, two more than any other CB in football. Patrick Peterson has given up seven catches all year long.

While Tramon Williams finished as the 102nd rated CB last season with the Cleveland Browns, he is an eleven year veteran who has 31 career interceptions to his name. In parts of three games this season, Williams has a PFF grade of 77.4, and on Sunday made an acrobatic interception in the fourth quarter to help preserve the Cardinals victory. Williams came into the game after Patrick Peterson left in the 2nd half with a quad injury. Peterson said all cylinders are a go for today’s game against the Rams.

Take a deeper look at Patrick Peterson’s game last week:

The continuous lack of pressure on the quarterback from anyone other than Chandler Jones was on display again against the Buccaneers. The Cardinals had two sacks on the day, both by Jones. The team sack total sits at 12 entering Week 7, seven of those belong to Chandler. No other Cardinal has more than one sack. Chandler leads all edge rushers in QB pressures with 33. Even though Jones currently ranks eleventh in the league in pass rushing productivity this season, he has still dropped back into pass coverage 21 times. None of the first ten on the PRP list have dropped back any more than eleven times thus far. Even though the Cardinals are not blitzing as often as they did last season, they have stepped it up in that department as they have sent an extra pass rusher on 40.6% of pass plays over the last three weeks. It hasn’t helped.

It might be wise today for the Cardinals to not blitz as often against Jared Goff, unless they’re sending Chandler Jones. Goff has an above league average of 104.9 quarterback rating on the season. When teams send a blitz at Goff, he actually has a better QBR than when teams drop back into coverage against him. Through the first six games, Goff has a QBR of 107.3 against the blitz. The NFL average against blitz packages is 90.4. The main reason for Goff’s success against the blitz is due to his instinctive decision making. Six of Jared’s his eight passing TD’s on the season have come on plays where he’s released the ball under 2.5 seconds. That’s a good way to make defensive coordinators rethink about sending extra men at the quarterback, especially if those blitzes aren’t turning into sacks to begin with.

The Cardinals offense will be looking to add onto the momentum that they built last week. Against Tampa Bay, the Cards put 24 points on the board by halftime and finished the game with at least one TD in every quarter.

For the Cardinals to come back to the desert winners, they’re going to need to find a way to keep Aaron Donald away from Carson Palmer. Heading into today’s game, Donald is PFF’s number one overall player in the NFL with a grade of 95.6. On the year Donald has 36 QB pressures, which is first by all interior defensive lineman. While most of the offensive line was a brick wall last week, Earl Watford, who started at right guard for the Cardinals, earned a Poor overall game grade of 35.5. Watford will be getting a full dose of Aaron Donald today, as we’ll see Donald lineup over Earl as often as possible. As a unit, the Rams defense is tied for second in the NFL in sacks, with 20. In contrast to the Cards, the Rams have seven defensive players with over one sack on the year, led by linebacker Conner Barwin who has three.

With his ten catches last Sunday, Larry Fitzgerald moved into second place on the season with 42 catches. Keep throwing Larry Legend the ball. Larry and Adrian Peterson looked like men possessed during last weeks win. Guess that’s what happens when two future Hall-of-Famers currently live at the same residence. On the season, Peterson has made one of more defenders miss tackles on 17% of his run plays which ranks sixth in the league for all running backs. Here’s to hoping Nickell Robey-Coleman gets an up close and personal lesson that the 2017 version of Adrian Peterson still has solid tread on the tires.

Feel free to read up on last weeks game a little more in depth:



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