The Air up There: (Few) Expected Changes for the Arizona Cardinals' Playbook

David GlovskyContributor IJune 4, 2009

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 01:  Head coach Ken Whisenhunt walks on the field against the Arizona Cardinals of the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals will be without both of their coordinators from last season.

Clancy Pendergast, who predated Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona, left after the Super Bowl defeat and was replaced by linebackers coach Billy Davis.

Davis is a long-time NFL assistant who has coached with eight different organizations, including six in the NFC. His previous coordinator experience was with the San Francisco 49ers, who employed him for two forgettable years during the 2005 and 2006 seasons

Though his track record as a coordinator is not great, Davis has experience running a 3-4 defense, and should hopefully improve on the lackluster red zone defense the Cards had last year.

I would expect to see more blitzing from the outside linebackers as a result of Whisenhunt’s love of the Pittsburgh 3-4.

In the secondary, bringing in Bryant McFadden should give the safeties more room to roam. It will also allow the Cardinals to use their nickel packages more and mix up their coverage patterns. This will also allow Davis to push up the linebackers and blitz more defenders.

Offensively, I would expect to see the tight end used more in the passing game.

With defenses needing to key on Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston, there is a role in this offense for a big receiver to grab some balls running short patterns over the middle and in the flats.

Dominique Byrd showed a great deal of potential at USC, and though he spent last year out of football, he could very well improve on the nine catches Leonard Pope had last year.

With Chris “Beanie” Wells, the Cardinals will likely look to run the ball more. Tim Hightower could do little outside of the goal line, and I look for the Cardinals to try to get him carries off tackle.

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Though Todd Haley has left to become the head coach of the Chiefs, I doubt there will be major changes to the offensive playbook, considering how successful the offense was last year.

Other than a little more focus on the running game, you should expect little different from Kurt Warner and company.