After breaking down film and critiquing the teams heading into Super Bowl XLIII, Scouts Inc. tells you what to pay attention to.
Quick and athletic up front
The Cardinals' defense is more exotic up front than most might think. They have a deep front-four rotation that is not very big or physical, but is very athletic and quick. The Cardinals' defensive linemen have good penetrating skills and love to disrupt with twists and stunts. The defensive ends will loop inside, the tackles will loop around the edge. The Cardinals' quick and active defensive line could give the Steelers' big, physical offensive line problems.
Pittsburgh must especially account for DT Darnell Dockett, who's not only physical but also a great penetrator with a big-time motor. Overall, this defensive line is better than most people think without a lot of big-name players.
Troy Polamalu plays more roles than any other safety in the league. He is extremely aggressive, but has great instincts and feel for the play. In the Steelers' base Cover 2, he plays the deep-half zone, but he often freelances once the game starts. Defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau loves to move him all around and he's especially effective as a blitzer inside or off the edge. He is effective in zone coverage because of his uncanny ability to anticipate routes and close on the ball. However, he is not as effective in man-to-man coverage because he is so aggressive and takes more chances then he should. Polamalu has good recovery skills, but can be beaten with double moves and pump fakes.