Additions lift ceiling of Cards' secondary

When it comes to nicknames for secondaries in the NFC West, one team seems to own the market.

Everyone knows Seattle’s defensive backfield as the "Legion of Boom." And if you don’t know, Richard Sherman will be happy to tell you all about it. But there’s another secondary in the West that’s garnering some attention this offseason and has already been given a nickname by its faithful fans.

Seattle's "Legion of Boom" meet Arizona's "No Fly Zone."

"No Fly Zone" meet the "Legion of Boom."

In what’s becoming one of the NFL’s most intriguing rivalries -- Arizona’s defensive backs vs. Seattle’s -- there’s a distinct difference between the two teams. Seattle’s secondary is established, having been together for a few years. They're more successful, having won a Super Bowl together. Arizona’s secondary is younger and newer, the majority having been added to the team in the last two seasons.

But how good is Arizona’s secondary after adding cornerback Antonio Cromartie in free agency and drafting safety Deone Bucannon to a defensive backfield that already featured cornerback Patrick Peterson and safety Tyrann Mathieu?

"I think there is no ceiling," Peterson said. "I think the sky’s the limit for us. By adding Cromartie, I thought that was a huge pickup. But now adding Bucannon I think is a much better pickup because I think it now puts the secondary, as a whole, in a much better position than we have been in the years since I’ve been here.

"I think it definitely well-rounds us because now that you have two shutdown corners on the outside, a free safety in Tyrann that can roam the field and make plays like a Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed and things like that, and now you got a hard-hitting safety that will come down and kinda be that ninth guy in the box and stop the run and make teams pretty much have a fear of running those drag routes like (Kam) Chancellor out in Seattle."

Peterson said that is what made Seattle so good: They have a talented player at every position in the secondary. With Seattle parting ways with cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond, despite keeping Byron Maxwell, the Cardinals may be inching closer to having as talented of a secondary as the defending champs.

Drafting Bucannon was a large part of that, Peterson said, but so is the depth built by adding a couple of starters.

"It definitely closes the gap," he said. "It closed the gap tremendously now that we can do a variety of different things because at the end of the day we still have (cornerback) Jerraud Powers, who we know can cover real well. Obviously, he had some tough breaks last year but we still have him on the roster to go inside while Tyrann is out. He’s a huge asset to this defense, as well. He’s a guy that can play outside, inside, he’ll probably be in a couple safety packages.

"There’s going to be a couple different things that we can do with the guys on the roster."