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Run defense needs fix, or Cardinals know they'll see more of same

Last season, when the Cardinals hosted the Titans, Josh Bynes watched some of Tennessee's plays develop with a sense of déjà vu. The linebacker realized that, while a formation or two were tweaked, half the time the Titans were running the exact play the Texans had just run -- successfully -- against the Cardinals a few weeks previous.

"I was thinking, 'Why does this look familiar?' " Bynes said. "And it's because the league picks stuff up. 'Oh, you're having trouble with it? Well, we will motion a guy to make it look like something different but, oh, it's exactly what you saw before.' "

The Rams this week have plenty of their own offensive philosophies, but Bynes knows -- especially since Rams coach Sean McVay was the Redskins offensive coordinator under Jay Gruden prior to becoming the Rams coach in 2017 -- that the Cards will see some of the same running plays this Sunday, especially with the way the Cardinals struggled against the run against the Redskins in the opener.

Coach Steve Wilks has already said a couple of times how crucial it will be the Cardinals improve against the run. Doing it in Week Two against Todd Gurley makes it even more of a chore, but the Cards can't give up 182 yards on the ground (4.3 yards a carry) like they did against Washington and feel confident in getting a win.

Successful teams don't necessarily have to be dominant in run defense. Bynes played on the Ravens' 2012 Super Bowl champion in which Baltimore only ranked 20th in run defense. When Bynes won a national championship at Auburn in college in the 2010 season, "we gave up points some days, we gave up stats, those things are going to happen."

"It's all about that 'W,' " Bynes said. "It didn't matter what we gave up in the Super Bowl, at the end of the day, we hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. That's not to take away what happened Sunday with the Redskins. But it's just about winning. And even if we won, we'd still have to find a way to correct those things."

S Budda Baker and LB Josh Bynes make the tackle.
S Budda Baker and LB Josh Bynes make the tackle.

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