TEMPE – fifteen.
That’s the number of defensive shots star supporter Isaiah Simmons scored in the Arizona Cardinals’ win in Week Two in overtime over the Las Vegas Raiders.
After seeing 61 shots just a week ago, Simmons saw his role shrink from a mains player to a marginal player as well as handing the green point to second-year MIKE linebacker Zaven Collins.
That didn’t stop Simmons from making the most of his limited reps, highlighted by his compulsive confusion that cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. scored for the match-winning touchdown.
After the game, coach Cliff Kingsbury told reporters that Simmons had taken a cut in playing time entering the week and asked him to train better.
On Thursday, though, defensive coordinator Vance Joseph prepared the change to plan out the performance.
So which one of them?
“It was a strict game plan. … My biggest challenge is getting the right people versus the right people,” Joseph said. “That will be the challenge we face every week. But he played his butt. He had a great week of training after the Chiefs match. He was intentional in practice, and had great meetings. play butt.
“The two plays he gave at the end of the match, no one on our team could make but him. … I said, ‘Listen, it’s not about the number of plays you play. It’s about the way you play when you play. … week after week there will be packages to help us play a great defense until our (injured) guys come back.”
In the first week against the Kansas City Chiefs, Simmons saw the bulk of his shots as a slot corner (29). But that was just one of the five positions the star pro led in the loss, with Simmons also lining up in square (22), along the line (three) and secondary as safety (three) and the outer corner (four).
But last Sunday, Simmons saw most of his footage in the box (10). Also lined up wide (two) and in the slot (three).
Obviously, there was a clear shift in the game plan when it came to Simmons in Week 2. Getting your rank and not fitting into the game plan for a match can be all right.
But regardless of the exact reason behind Simmons’ limited role, not playing someone as unique as Simmons seems completely odd – as Joseph noted.
While one might imagine Simmons returning to a similar role thanks to his late-game heroics and improved practices, it may be a game-by-game decision for Joseph going forward.
“It will always be week to week with… where he plays,” Joseph said. “That’s why he was recruited, this is his position, this is his body type.
“And that is the challenge we face every week: where do we put him so he can play to help us win. Last week, it was a good deal for him and us.”