Although the Arizona Cardinals are among the league leaders in a number of defensive categories, but the team has one glaring weakness – an inability to get to opposing quarterbacks.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told the team’s official website that the organization had no concerns about pursuing a pass rusher prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline due to the impending return of outside linebacker Alex Okafor.
BA On Alex Okafor coming back: “It’s huge. Everybody was saying trade for a pass rusher. I don’t think there’s a better one on the market."
“I don’t think there’s a better one on the market," Arians said of Okafor, who is expected to return to practice Tuesday following Arizona’s bye week. "I think he’ll add a lot to our mix."
The Cardinals rank among the top five in the league in both total yards and rushing yards allowed and have registered an NFL-high 13 interceptions despite a pass rush that has produced only 13 sacks in eight games.
Dwight Freeney, who was signed when Okafor suffered a calf injury in Week 5, has recorded a pair of sacks in three games to tie Okafor and Frostee Rucker for the team lead.
Okafor, a fourth-round draft pick in 2013, appeared in only one game in his rookie season but showed promise as a pass rusher a year ago with a team-leading eight sacks.
“(Arians) has always believed in me,” Okafor said. “There was never a doubt of that in my mind. … Now I have to produce and make his words true.”