The Cardinals’ defensive front was embattled heading into the regular season opener.
The group struggled to stop the run in 2018, and then Darius Philon and Robert Nkemdiche were released during training camp. However, the line held up nicely against the Lions, allowing only 3.1 yards per carry to the running back duo of Kerryon Johnson and C.J. Anderson while amassing three sacks and two forced fumbles.
Pro Football Focus gave outside linebacker Terrell Suggs the best grade on the team at 81.0, including an elite pass-rushing grade of 90.4 for his two sacks. Outside linebacker Chandler Jones earned an 80.8 overall grade and an 86.8 pass-rushing mark that was highlighted by his strip-sack and recovery.
Nose tackle Corey Peters led the run-stuffing performance, garnering a team-best 80.9 grade to go with an overall mark of 77.6. Suggs, Peters and Jones had the three highest PFF grades on the teams.
Other tidbits from Week 1:
*Guard J.R. Sweezy’s most memorable play on Sunday came when he “sacked” Kyler Murray by running into him in the backfield. While that made its way around social media, Sweezy actually graded out really well. He was given a 75.6, which was the best mark of any player on offense and fourth overall on the team.
*Speaking of Murray, PFF was less impressed. He received the worst offensive grade on the team with a 53.4. While the rookie quarterback was good down the stretch, it evidently did not make up for the slow start in PFF’s eyes.
*Cornerback Chris Jones had the best coverage grade on the team, although it was an average 65.6. Rookie Byron Murphy had a 53.1 coverage grade but earned high marks for his run-stopping.