Tue, 19 Oct 2021

Players In The Spotlight: Jacksonville Week

Arizona Cardinals
24 Sep 2021, 05:03 GMT+10

Moore, Jones, Simmons, Edmonds and Alford key players against Jaguars Kevin Parrish Jr.

The Cardinals travel to Jacksonville looking to start the 2021 season 3-0 for only the fifth time since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The showdown features the first matchup between Kyler Murray and Trevor Lawrence, two of the seven active quarterbacks selected No.1 overall in the NFL draft. The Cardinals hold a 3-2 all-time series lead against the Jaguars -- a team riding a 17-game losing streak dating back to last season.

Here are five Cards to watch for in this week's spotlight:

Rondale Moore

Moore's 268 all-purpose yards ranks fifth in the NFL, leading all rookies - as does his 182 receiving yards - to rank him above wideouts Ja'Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, and DeVonta Smith, all of whom were first-round picks. Moore's jitterbug first step and speed explains why he is a close second in NFL yards-after-catch. Come Sunday, Moore will aim to continue his impressive start against a Jaguars secondary surrendering 295 yards per contest, fifth most in the NFL.

Milestone watch: If Moore has 100 yards receiving Sunday, he will become the first rookie in franchise history to record back-to-back receiving yard games - and just the eighth rookie in team history with multiple 100-yard games. Anquan Boldin was the last to do it, in 2003.

Chandler Jones

After posting five sacks in the opener, Jones was shut out against Minnesota as the Vikings gave him the expected blocking attention he deserved. It didn't mean Jones was ineffective -- Jones still had three quarterback pressures and in the third quarter he upped his game, including one devastating hit on Dalvin Cook to break up a pass. Going against a rookie quarterback in Jacksonville could put Jones in a place to get another sack or two, regardless of the blocking scheme against him.

Milestone watch: Jones would pass Freddie Joe Nunn as the franchise all-time sack leader with a sack and become the first player in Cardinals history with at least six sacks through Week Three. With two sacks at Jacksonville, Jones will become the ninth player in NFL history with seven sacks through the first three games of a season, joining Shaq Barrett as the only player in eight years to accomplish the feat.

Isaiah Simmons

Simmons is becoming the linebacker the Cardinals imagined when drafted him first-round in 2020. The sophomore has arguably been the most productive Cardinal with his tackling, solid coverage, and his athleticism to fly all over the field to make plays. Simmons leads the team in tackles through Week Two and is the only NFL defender this season with 15+ tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble. Now he gets to face former Clemson teammate and No.1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence, when Simmons will get the chance to sack the quarterback for the first time.

Chase Edmonds

Edmonds has been solid in the first two games of 2021, showing himself as a reliable threat as both a runner and pass-catcher. The Jaguars run defense ranked 30th in 2020 and has allowed 128 yards per game this season, the eighth-most in the NFL. Edmonds has a chance to have a breakout game, as does the Cardinals' run game as a whole. While the passing offense has had most of the highlights this season, don't be surprised if Edmonds steals the show with a big performance.

Robert Alford

Alford has come back to the field with a solid showing as the Cardinals' No. 3 cornerback, and moved into the No. 2 role against the Vikings when rookie Marco Wilson went down with an ankle injury. The Jaguars passing attack averages 225 yards per contest, fifth lowest in the NFL, and with the Cardinals' pass rush, Alford and his secondary mates should start from a position of strength. Wilson's ankle will be something to watch, but regardless, Alford continues to play a big role in Vance Joseph's defense.

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