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Pass Rush - With Kennard Back - Faces Difficult Test Against Allen

Notes: Baker expected to play Sunday; Peterson lobbies for more officials

Linebacker Markus Golden had a sack in his first game back with the Cardinals and lost a second because of a penalty.
Linebacker Markus Golden had a sack in his first game back with the Cardinals and lost a second because of a penalty.

Tracking down Kyler Murray this season has been difficult for defenses, and the Cardinals' pass rush will get a sense of the same Sunday when playing against Bills quarterback Josh Allen.

"If I was a coach, I'd like a (QB) that could do both (run and throw) just because you've got options," Murray said. "It opens up the offense a little bit more. You're a lot more dynamic to get out of sticky situations. In football, especially in the NFL, there's going to be a lot of sticky situations because everybody is so good."

Both Allen and Murray have dodged sticky situations well – according to Next Gen Stats, Allen has evaded pressure an NFL-best 29.2 percent of the time, and Murray isn't far behind at 28.1 percent, by far the best numbers in the NFL

Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said the Cardinals have to pass rush Allen "the proper way," speed him up in the pocket – otherwise he can dice up a defense two ways, like a Murray or Russell Wilson. The contain-but-still-look-for-sacks mentality is a fine line to walk against a QB who can come up with a 100-yard rushing game as easily as Murray.

"Allen is a tough out," Joseph said. "He's really poised in chaos."

The Cardinals do get starting linebacker Devon Kennard back from the COVID reserve list, which will help the group pass rush system Joseph has employed since the injury to Chandler Jones. Kennard, Markus Golden, Dennis Gardeck and Haason Reddick headline that collective effort.

Joseph said he's happy with the pass rush – the Cards had three sacks against the Dolphins and should of had three more – but the defense must force the Bills into more third downs so they can execute those packages.

Allen was sacked seven times last week against the Seahawks but threw for 415 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. The Bills basically threw all game – they dropped back 45 times all told, and only had 13 rush attempts that weren't running out the clock at the end of the game.

"Fifteen years ago, you couldn't drop back this much and survive," Joseph said. "Receivers couldn't survive, and quarterbacks surely couldn't survive. But in this new NFL, they play until they are 45 years old because no one is getting hit."


Safety Budda Baker, who is dealing with a groin injury, did not practice for a second straight day. But Joseph said he expects Baker to be able to play Sunday.

Defensive linemen Jordan Phillips (hamstring) and Leki Fotu (ankle), guard Justin Murray (hand), quarterback Chris Streveler (illness) and center Lamont Gaillard (illness) also did not practice. Tight end Maxx Williams (ankle), running back Kenyan Drake (ankle), cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (thigh), and safety Deionte Thompson (knee) were all limited.

For the Bills, defensive end Mario Addison (not injury-related) and running back Taiwan Jones (hamstring) didn't practice. Guard Cody Ford (ankle), linebacker Del'Shawn Phillips (quadriceps), cornerback Tre'Davious White (ankle), guard Brian Winters (knee), guard Jon Feliciano (back), quarterback Jake Fromm (not injury-related), safety Micah Hyde (ankle) and cornerback Josh Norman (hamstring) were all limited.


Frustrated at a pass interference flag he absorbed last week when he felt the official couldn't see the play clearly, cornerback Patrick Peterson said he wants there to be more officials every game and thinks the NFL should consider it.

"We need more refs on the field to officiate the games," Peterson said. "If the back judge can't see the receiver, now the DB is at a disadvantage. He's not seeing the whole game, so we need more eyes to help these guys.

"I watched that play 30 times, I was in perfect coverage I never touched him, never did anything like that. I take PIs very personally, especially when I know I did not have a PI."

(Upon viewing the replay, it indeed does not look like Peterson did anything to warrant a flag, although the pass was caught for a 17-yard gain and the penalty ultimately declined.)

Images from practice at the Dignity Health Training Center, presented by Hyundai.