Eagles’ Scouting Report Of the Cardinals

What to expect from Arizona tomorrow, according to the Eagles.

Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer. (USA Today Sports)

Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer. (USA Today Sports)

Although the NFC East has been bad as a whole this year, the Eagles have played a couple of really good teams outside of their division in Carolina and New England. But this week, Chip Kelly said Arizona is as good as any team they’ve faced.

“Yeah, they are. It’s an outstanding team in all phases. They have got talent,” Kelly said. “They are playing really well on defense. Patrick [Peterson] is playing as well as I’ve seen him play; he’s one of the top corners in the league, if not the top corner the way he’s playing right now. Tyrann Mathieu is playing outstanding at the nickel spot and safety. They are very active and blitz more than any team in the National Football League.

Carson Palmer should be in the conversation of the MVP right now in terms of how well he’s playing and you have [Michael] Floyd and you have [Larry] Fitzgerald. You have a really talented football team that’s going to come in here. We played them two years ago here and it was an extremely close game. We played them down there until the last play of the game. We know we have our hands full and are playing one of the top teams in the National Football League this week.”

To get a better feel for the potential MVP and his teammates, we rounded up the Eagles’ coaches comments about them. Here’s what they said, plus stats detailing where the Cardinals rank in the NFL in points per drive, yards per carry, passer rating and turnovers per drive on both sides of the ball.


2.67 (1)4.1 (13)106.5 (2).121 (15)

Billy Davis on their offensively philosophy: “We know Arizona’s going to take 6-to-8 shots a game. That’s what they do. That’s part of the reason they are the No. 1 offense in the NFL in a lot of categories right now. We’ve got to stayed disciplined. … We just have to play with more discipline and responsibility and take care of our own — like we did the other night — and make the plays. They make a lot of plays down the field. We’ve got to go up and make those plays.”

Kelly on the personnel they use: “They use everything. They use multiple tight ends, they use multiple running backs, and they use multiple receivers. Bruce Arians does a great job of getting in and out of different personnel groups. We’re going to have to be really sharp in everything we do, but it’s not just you’re going to go out there and see a ton of 11. You’re going to see everything. You’re going to see two tight ends, three tight ends, you’ll see multiple backs. He’s as varied as any team will face.”

Kelly on Palmer: “Going against Carson will be like going against Tom Brady, like going against Eli [Manning], those veteran quarterbacks that have seen everything. You have got to be able to give them varied looks. You can’t sit in the same things all the time because he’ll pick you apart. He’s so sharp and can change things at the line of scrimmage and put themselves in the right protection, put themselves in the right routes, so you’ve got to give them a lot of different looks.

“You have to attack them a lot of different ways. You have to blitz them at times. You have to play coverage at times. So I think it’s really an attack that’s got to cover a lot of different things. It just can’t be, ‘Hey, if we play this one coverage, we are going to be pretty good against him’ because he’ll figure out exactly what you’re going to do.”

Davis on Fitzgerald: “He’s a big, strong guy. The strength of Larry is he’s got the strongest hands at the point of the catch that I’ve been around. He goes and gets it, and that’s a big bonus when you’re in the slot. When you have all the lower routes that you have to catch, you’re usually in traffic.”


1.69 (10)3.9 (11)78.1 (3).156 (4)

Kelly on their blitzing: “They lead the National Football League in blitzing. They blitz the most. I think they are right at about 50 percent. So one out of every two snaps, somebody is coming, and they bring them from all different areas. So they have continued what Todd [Bowles] was doing there and actually are doing it a little bit more.

“So it’s something, we had a high blitz number going into the Bills game and really had to prepare for that. You always have to prepare for blitz, but these last two opponents — the Bills and the Cardinals — are teams that are really going to come after you. A big part of our preparation this week is trying to handle those blitzes and how we’re going to be able to pick them up.”

Pat Shurmur on Peterson: “He’s playing as well as he’s played in his career. He looks lighter to me, he looks quicker. He’s much tighter in coverage than he was, I think, a year ago. We’re very well aware of where he is. We know his name, we know his number and we’re going to be well aware of where he’s at.”

Kelly on Mathieu: “He seems like he has a nose for the football. He rises up to all challenges. Even though he’s a little shorter than most guys in the secondary, that doesn’t seem to affect him. He did a great job covering Jimmy Graham when they played Seattle. A lot of people maybe wouldn’t have looked at that matchup. I think he’s so competitive and he’s got outstanding ball skills. He was a really good returner. He always seems to have a way to be around the football and has a knack for making plays at critical times during the game. But I think the one thing you notice about him is his competitiveness.”

Kelly on Deone Bucannon: “We looked at Deone as a safety and they are playing him exclusively at inside linebacker. He may be the lightest inside linebacker in the league; he’s 211 pounds, but he’s extremely productive. He’s their leading tackler. It was a good projection by them. I don’t know if they thought of it that way when they projected him. They brought him in last year, he played dime linebacker for them and now they have transitioned him to where he’s on the field for three downs as an inside linebacker and truly playing inside linebacker. And I don’t know many teams in the league that have someone under 220 playing inside linebacker every single snap.

“They are getting great production out of him. He’s a physical football player. He seems like he has got real good instincts and a nose for the ball at inside linebacker, which I think when you’re projecting, not many people project safeties to be inside linebackers in the National Football League. But he has transitioned and done a really good job, and I think he’s one of the keys to their defense right now. I give their scouting staff credit for kind of taking a guy that was a college safety, drafting him, moving him to linebacker and having a lot of production out of him.”