Nick Wagoner, Los Angeles Rams reporter: Clearly, it was a priority for Arizona to add some punch to the pass rush this offseason, hence the big move to land Jones and the addition of Nkemdiche in the draft. Jones was maybe the biggest offseason addition of any NFC West team. The jury is out on Nkemdiche, who comes with some question marks. The Cardinals tied for 20th in sacks in 2015 with 36, though in fairness they were third in the NFL in creating pressure at 31.9 percent. But here’s where Jones and Nkemdiche should be able to help the most: Arizona again blitzed more than any team in the league at 45.1 percent. One would think the Cardinals’ addition of Jones and Nkemdiche was intended to allow them to generate pressure without having to dial up a blitz nearly half the time. In two meetings with the Cardinals last season, the Rams gave up just one sack, though their quarterbacks were pressured 38.3 percent of the time, including 45.7 percent in the 27-3 loss in Week 13. Given the Cardinals' talent in the secondary, a pass rush that doesn’t have to lean so heavily on the blitz would also allow them to get more creative in coverage and potentially lead to more big plays.
Michael Wagaman, San Francisco 49ers reporter: The 49ers have major concerns along their offensive line, so any additional pass-rushers coming into the division isn’t good news for the team. Jones’ production speaks for itself, while Nkemdiche was a beast in college who will make an immediate impact with Arizona. Having quarterbacks get rid of the ball more quickly is a part of 49ers coach Chip Kelly’s offense. It was a big emphasis during offseason workouts, and Jones and Nkemdiche are a big reason for that.
Sheil Kapadia, Seattle Seahawks reporter: This is probably one of the biggest question marks the Seahawks face going into next season. They have three new projected starters on the offensive line, and the two remaining starters are playing different positions. The Cardinals clearly felt like they needed to upgrade their pass rush, and Jones is someone who’s posted 30 sacks in his past 41 games. Nkemdiche is the X factor. If the Cardinals’ coaching staff can get him to reach his potential, the Seahawks will face an enormous challenge when the two teams meet. The Seahawks’ offense averaged 31.3 points per game in the second half of last season, but when the unit stalled (late in the season against the Rams and in the first half of the playoff loss to the Panthers), it was the line that was most responsible for the struggles. The Cardinals and Seahawks are the favorites to battle for the NFC West title, and the matchup between the Cardinals’ pass rush and the Seahawks’ offensive line will receive plenty of attention before the two teams square off in 2016.