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Silver Minings: Josh McDaniels talks challenges of facing blitz-happy Cardinals

Turning up the heat in the desert

Oakland Raiders v Arizona Cardinals
Andre James vs Cardinals
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders are set to take on the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday in their Week 2 matchup. Last season, the Cardinals dialed up the fourth-most blitzes in the league on 33.6 percent of their defensive snaps, and it was more of the same in their season opener, bringing the heat 58.5 percent of the time.

That can pose a challenge for any offensive line, especially one that lacks some talent like the Raiders’ line. Head coach Josh McDaniels was asked about the challenges of facing Arizona’s defensive philosophy during a press conference this week and provided some insights into the game plan.

“Yeah, they were one of the top couple blitzing teams in the entire league last year, and then they obviously didn’t change their philosophy last week. They generate a lot of negative plays, a lot of pressure on the quarterback, create a lot of third-and-long situations with negative plays, with their blitz packages.

“Vance (Joseph) has always done a great job of being able to try to attack protections and formations with different pressures that he uses, and he has as a volume of them, it’s pretty extensive. So, for us, we’re going to need to do a good job of obviously identifying exactly where they’re lined up at. They’ve got a lot of different personnel groupings that they use and very athletic blitzers from [Isaiah] Simmons, to [Budda] Baker to [Zaven] Collins. They all come, and when they come, they’re coming fast.

“They basically threw the kitchen sink at Kansas City last week. And again, that’s just awareness, communication pre-snap, and then we’ve got to follow your rules. I wouldn’t say we’ve seen every blitz that they have, so we’re probably going to get some things that are unique to us. That’s why we try to practice those things over and over again all year long because when you face a team like this, it’s going to test you in that manner.

“You’re going to need to rely on what you know; you can’t always predict where it’s coming from. So, this will be a big challenge just for our overall operation, our communication and then our ability to do our assignments once the ball is snapped.”

Let’s hope the offensive line’s communication is on point this Sunday.

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