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Coordinators' Corner: Cards strong in passing defense and offense

Gase and offense preparing for strong defensive matchup

Broncos Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase has his eye on the Cardinals' defense as another tough customer for his offense to face. From their front line to their safeties, Arizona's defense is imposing and they like to put pressure with blitz packages.

"I think [Cardinals Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles] is going to do what he does well, and they've had a lot of success this year blitzing," Gase said. "I'm sure they're going to have some kind of package however they do it, however they get to it and I'm sure they'll have plenty of interesting things that we haven't seen before and we're just going to have to make sure we stick with our fundamentals and our scheme and our rules of what we've learned over training camp and up to this point and stick with those and do the best we can as far as picking all that stuff up."

Gase was also complimentary of the Cardinals' cornerbacks, who can make things difficult from sideline to sideline. "Everybody knows [Patrick] Peterson [...] and Cromartie's no slouch. I know that. We've seen him obviously for a long time, whether it's been San Diego or New York. The guy's a good lockdown corner and they've got two of them," he said. "So for the most part that allows him to do whatever he needs to do as far as getting pressure on the quarterback."

Manning impressive with appetite for knowledge and historical impact

Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians noted that Peyton Manning has gotten even smarter since coaching Manning as the Colts' quarterbacks coach from 1998 to 2000. He noted Manning's hunger for knowledge and knack for retaining it, comparing him to a piranha.

Gase confirmed that after practice saying that "you can never give him enough."

"Every day it seems like there's something else that comes out and there's a lot of questions to ask. He asks and you have to be ready to answer and that's why our preparation probably takes as long as it does, making sure we have the answers because he's seen so much football. When you're a veteran player—and this happens with some skilled guys as well—they've seen so much football that they know what may come up and they want to know 'Do we have a plan for that?' So that's his ability to eat up the information: It's unreal."

Manning's proximity to 500 career passing touchdowns has not gone unnoticed with him sitting at 499. Though Gase said that individual marks get a little lost amid focusing on game preparation, he said one of the most impressive parts of it is how normal it feels to have him there.

"There's only so many guys with 250 touchdowns and the guy's almost got 500. I mean, it's unbelievable. And since he's been here, it just feels like it's so normal. I'm sure one day I'll look back and be like 'It would be nice to throw 30 touchdowns in a season.' It's just so unusual and I guess I'll look back one day and be like 'That was special.' Right now I think we're just so in the moment that whatever happens, happens."


Del Rio keeping an eye on Cardinals' deep passing**

The Cardinals aren't afraid to throw the long ball, and they've got the receivers to give them a great shot down the field with Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and rookie John Brown. Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio has noted their tendency to look down the field, especially with the deep bombs.

"Teams will look for them, but not everybody is as aggressive actually throwing them and just getting the ball downfield and giving their receivers a chance. I think having a couple of those bigger guys that they have probably gives them a little more confidence to do that, but that's certainly something we're aware of."

He noted Floyd's strengths with his hands and ability to track the ball, as well as Brown's energetic play, but Del Rio was most familiar with Fitzgerald.

That familiarity has been there for a long time because the two have known each other since Del Rio's playing days in Minnesota when Fitzgerald was a ball boy.

"He's a super young man, really good football player. He's gifted athletically, but he's really tremendous mentally in how he approaches the game and how he conducts himself and takes care of his body. He's got hands. I played with a guy named Cris Carter—he's in the Hall of Fame, got pretty good hands. I think Larry's got that kind of catching radius, just has a little more physically going on. But you're talking about a really good football player."

Del Rio honored with USC Hall of Fame induction

This past weekend Del Rio was in attendance for the University of Southern California Trojans' game against Oregon State. Not only is his son on Oregon State's team, but Del Rio was there for a special occasion.

He was one of 16 former Trojans honored at halftime of Saturday's game, all inductees of the 2015 USC athletic Hall of Fame class. An outstanding linebacker for USC, Del Rio was named a consensus All-American as a senior and a runner-up for the Lombardi award, and he was voted co-MVP of the 1985 Rose Bowl.

"It was quite an honor. It's a special place and there have been a lot of tremendous athletes that have gone through there, so to be selected as somebody worthy of going in their Hall of Fame was something I take a lot of pride in. I'm very honored by that."

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