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Arizona Cardinals: Good, Bad and Ugly of Week 3 Loss at Saints

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | The Arizona Cardinals traveled to New Orleans to take on the saints and simply laid an egg. After scoring on their first possession, they fell apart en route to a 31-7 drubbing at the hands of Drew Brees and the Saints.

As usual, there were a few silver linings, but for the most part this one was bad and very ugly.

THE GOOD - DOCKETT AND PRESSURE

Darnell Dockett awoke from his slumber to record three sacks in the game. He had been extremely quiet previously, recording four tackles and no sacks in the first two games.

The overall pressure from the Cardinals defensive front was better this week than it has been this season. Brees and the Saints had to come up with some tremendous individual efforts to overcome the pressure.

THE BAD - PALMER AND PLAYCALLING

There's the good side of Carson Palmer, then there's the side we saw today. He finished with 187 yards and two interceptions on just 18-of-35 passing. He got happy feet after getting knocked down a few times in the first half and his accuracy suffered because of it. Getting hit nine times wouldn't be acceptable over the span of two games, much less one.

Palmer did attempt to go deep on multiple occasions, but they were more often than not ill-advised throws into double coverage. It's great to take advantage of Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald when they're one-on-one, but not into double coverage.

The playcalling was so vanilla at times, it's as if the Saints were running the Cardinals offense. They ran the ball just 16 times, including nine carries for 29 yards from Rashard Mendenhall. The Cardinals didn't run enough and when they did, it was on first down, which ended up giving them long yardage situations.

THE UGLY - COVERING THE TIGHT END

We knew coming into the game that Jimmy Graham is one of the best tight ends in the NFL. We also knew that the Cardinals had trouble against both the St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions in the middle of the field. It was a recipe for disaster, and what a disaster it was.

Graham finished with nine catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns. He continued to get into open space against man coverage, which just isn't going to be pretty for his defender. Just when the Cardinals looked to have Brees locked up, he'd find his security blanket in open space.

A returning Daryl Washington should help after his suspension is over, but this is a problem that could linger for a while. The nickel back, whether it's Tyrann Mathieu or someone else, simply can't cover those speedy, athletic tight ends. The Cardinals have to play zone but then they struggle to get pressure. It's a slippery slope that the Cardinals are sliding down with no end in sight.

Michael Dunlap is an NBA credentialed writer who covers the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Diamondbacks and Arizona Cardinals for the Yahoo Contributor Network. He is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for the NBA site HoopsHabit.com .

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