3 playing time surprises for the Cardinals in Week 1


We took a look at the offensive and defensive snap counts for the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1. Among the 69 offensive snaps and 64 defensive snaps against the Tennessee Titans, there were some surprises.

We go over them below.

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RB Eno Benjamin, CB Luq Barcoo inactive

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The surprises started with the inactive. Benjamin was inactive for the 17th straight game in the regular season. After his play in the preseason and training camp, it seemed he would have a role on Sundays. He was even listed as a starting kick returner but rookie Rondale Moore returned kicks on Sunday against the Titans. Barcoo was getting first-team reps on defense while Robert Alford was out with COVID. He figured to have a role as a backup or on special teams. Instead, he was inactive. Antonio Hamilton, a practice squad elevation, was a gunner on punts.

Robert Alford was CB3 and Marco Wilson CB2

The depth chart showed that Alford was a starter with Byron Murphy and that Wilson was a reserve. We all knew that the three starters for nickel packages would be Murphy, Alford and Wilson, but it figured to be Wilson coming in as the third corner. On Sunday, that was not the case, It was the rookie Wilson who stayed on the field with Murphy in base defenses when they only needed two corners. Perhaps it was because Alford was coming off the COVID list and he was being limited but we will see if this trend continues.

Jordan Hicks played almost every snap; Zaven Collins played only limited snaps

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All offseason the belief was that Collins, the Cardinals’ first-round pick, would be a starter and play basically every down as the team’s MIKE linebacker. Hicks requested a trade after he was told he wouldn’t be able to compete for the starting job. However, Hicks and Collins both started with Isaiah Simmons, but Hicks never left the field on defense until the starters were pulled in the rout over the Titans. Arizona Collins only played 22 total snaps. He played well but was not the signal-caller on defense. That was Hicks. It was how I believed the Cardinals would handle Collins, but Hicks was the main guy. Perhaps that was because of the matchup against Tenessee and two-time defending rushing champion Derrick Henry, but it would appear the Cardinals are going to ease Collins into the every-down role.

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