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Its not that Carolinas defense is unbeatable th

first_imgIt’s not that Carolina’s defense is unbeatable; the 2000 Baltimore Ravens they are not. They finished the regular season sixth in yards allowed, at 5,176, and fifth in points per game allowed, at 19.3. In comparison, the Cardinals were fifth in yards allowed, at 5,147, and sixth in points allowed, at 19.6.“They’re fast and physical,” Cardinals running back David Johnson said. “We’re going to have to come out and be more physical than them. Their linebackers, Davis, Kuechly, they’re really good linebackers and we’re going to have to come out and play our game.”Being able to run the ball effectively, or at least more effectively than they did last Saturday against Green Bay, would be the best way to keep Palmer protected. It would also aid the Cardinals’ play-action game, which is a staple of the offense — especially when it comes to taking shots deep down the field.Arizona offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said he has been telling his team all week the big thing is to prevent the Panthers’ interior defensive linemen from impacting the game the way they did against Seattle last week, when Short and Dwan Edwards each collected a sack. Comments   Share   TEMPE, Ariz. — Football can be a simple game, and in a lot of ways the Arizona Cardinals’ matchup with the Carolina Panthers is not a difficult one to figure out.If the Cardinals can block the Panthers’ defensive front, they should have success and will have a good chance at winning the game. If they cannot, Sunday’s affair will likely be a struggle.It’s that simple. Yet, the task of blocking against one of the NFL’s best defensive fronts is both unenviable and difficult. Sixteen Panthers notched 44 sacks this past season, with defensive tackle Kawann Short’s 11 leading the way. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo “We’ve got to kind of negate what they do, because they are pivotal to what they’re doing defensively,” he said.As a whole, the Panthers limited Seahawks running backs to just 29 yards on eight carries, while also harassing Wilson to the point where he was picked off twice — with one being returned for a touchdown by Kuechly.Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein said the Panthers are “better than good,” adding they are “excellent up front.” He said the team will have to play its best game thus far in order to give them a chance.If it happens, watch out. Because if the Panthers defense has one weakness it is the secondary, which has dealt with injury and inconsistent play. If the offensive line can do its job well enough, Palmer should have no trouble finding receivers open down the field. And that, really, is nothing new for the Cardinals.“Yeah, I think that’s every week — it starts with protection,” Arians said. “That’s guys getting open, but also the blocking unit, backs, tight ends.” Carolina Panthers Kawann Short (99) runs a drill during the NFL football team’s practice in advance of the NFC Championship game against the Arizona Cardinals in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact “They’re one of the best in the league, no question,” Cardinals left tackle Jared Veldheer said. “They’re real disruptive. They’re making a lot of plays on tape and it’s going to be a great challenge.”Veldheer pointed to the Panthers’ players being both talented and disciplined for why they are so effective.How talented are they?On the line there is Short, who posted four games with two or more sacks this season and was the NFC Player of the Month in October and December. At linebacker, there is veteran Thomas Davis, who is heading to his first Pro Bowl after racking up 123 tackles, 5.5 sacks and three interceptions, and Luke Kuechly, a three-time Pro Bowler who has been a first-team All-Pro three times and was the NFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.The Cardinals have faced off with some talented defensive fronts this season, most notably the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks, but head coach Bruce Arians said the Panthers are different because they feature the best pair of three-technique linemen in the league.“The interior two tackles are the best pair,” he said. “The linebackers are great, but they help make them great. Luke is probably the best linebacker in the league.” Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellinglast_img read more