Cardinals Bolster Defense With Dwight Freeney Signing
It’s getting to the point where the Arizona Cardinals are so stacked it’s not even fair. Chris Johnson leads a trio of good running backs and wide receiver Michael Floyd barely gets looked at in the passing game. Now Arizona’s vaunted defense just got a little nastier.
Per reports, former Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers pass rusher Dwight Freeney has joined the team in an effort to boost Arizona’s one major weakness – a lethargic pass rush.
Despite sporting one of the best defenses in the league, Arizona has actually struggled to successfully get after the quarterback consistently in 2015. Signing the 35-year old Freeney doesn’t mean that will automatically change for the better, but the depth and veteran presence certainly can’t hurt.
DE/OLB Dwight Freeney is signing a one-year deal with the #AZCardinals a source said. Still has plenty of gas in the tank. Solid addition.
— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) October 12, 2015
Freeney was likely ready to call it a career after a subpar 2014 showing with the Bolts (just 3.5 sacks), but Arizona’s need for some extra help on the outside of their 3-4 has him back in the NFL fold. It’s open for debate how much of an impact Freeney can have, as he never looked like a perfect fit in San Diego’s 3-4 system and was at his best in Indianapolis as a 4-3 defensive end.
Still, the signing of Freeney brings a big name to an already aggressive and stacked defense, and if the star pass rusher has anything left to contribute, the Cardinals will surely get it out of him.
Freeney is being signed more as a rotational piece than trying to bring him in to save the day, but his presence can’t hurt an already great defense that simply needs a jolt when it comes to pressuring the quarterback.
Regardless, Arizona could be just a tiny boost away from taking a big step forward in their pass rush, as they are just 23rd in the NFL with 8 team sacks. That being said, they’re still just three sacks out of the top-15 and getting Freeney into the rotation as a spark and a leader who can help the other pass rushers should be beneficial for the Cards.
Arizona’s playoff odds don’t change much with this acquisition, but it’s a strong signing for many reasons. Freeney has major experience as a 13-year vet, with numerous playoff games and two Super Bowl appearances (one win) under his belt. Adding that talent and experience to a winning roster that has it’s sights on going the distance can only serve as a strength.
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