Injuries shake up Arizona's secondary

Originally Published: September 29, 2005
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
Injuries are a part of the NFL, but the season-ending type that some teams have been hit with in the first few weeks can disrupt an organization and have lasting effects.

Here's a rundown of how injuries to Antrel Rolle in Arizona, Roland Williams in St. Louis, Paul Grasmanis in Philadelphia, Kevin Faulk in New England and Rich Braham and Larry Moore in Cincinnati will affect their teams' depth charts and ability to play the type of schemes they want to play.


Antrel Rolle
Rolle
What looked like a season-ending knee injury may not be as bad as once thought. The Cardinals are not putting Rolle on injured reserve, but he will miss a lot of time.

Arizona's first-round pick became an immediate starter and the No. 1 corner on the roster, but his overall play has been just average. Rolle loves to use his size and aggressiveness in press coverage by harassing the opponents' top receiver at the line of scrimmage. Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast recognized Rolle's strengths and utilized a lot of blitzes behind his press coverage, a good fit for the style of Arizona's players.

David Macklin, who normally would step in as Rolle's replacement, is incapable of playing the same type of press coverage and does not match up physically against big receivers. Now, with injuries to Macklin and Raymond Walls -- both are listed as questionable -- the Cardinals likely will go with rookies Eric Green or Lamont Reid. All of these corners are being asked to elevate their game higher than they are capable of playing.

The Cardinals likely will be forced to play more man-off and zone coverages, schemes Rolle didn't like to play. These coverages will eliminate big plays but will compromise the team's ability to blitz and will make an aggressive defense more vanilla.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.