With the bye week, it allows us to award a game ball to a player for his individual performance so far. Sure, some could probably respond saying that no one deserves a game ball. Honestly, that isn't a bad point. The team as a whole has been very disappointing. Nonetheless, our writers have given out a few game balls for individual performances so far this season.
Who are they? Continue after the jump and check out the multiple players recognized.
I give my six-week game ball to linebacker Daryl Washington. Having missed one game, he is just a few tackles off the team lead. He has two sacks, which is only behind Calais Campbell for the lead. He also has an interception and would have had a second were it not for a bad call on Richard Marshall for hitting Cam Newton in Week 1.
He has become the playmaker the team has hoped he would become. In my opinion, he is the most exciting player on the field to watch because he seems to be everywhere on the field.
Beanie Wells gets my game ball for his play leading up to the bye week. He is averaging 4.8 yards per carry, a career best, and he is rushing with power and finishing his runs. He already has six touchdowns on the season and 381 yards rushing. He has almost matched his total from last year in a mere five games. Look for him to finally break the 1,000 yard mark and continue pounding the rock, allowing the team to remain flexible and versatile with their offensive play-calling.
While the season has been a disappoint so far, one Cardinal has shined. Calais Campbell is off to an incredible start registering with 29 total tackles, 2.5 sacks and an FF. One can only imagine how well he and Darnell Docket could do if the OLB's could help relieve some of the attention they are given by other teams.
Beanie Wells, for finally breaking out. Without him, I doubt any of our games would even be close.
Offensive Game Ball:
Beanie Wells' position was threatened in the offseason by the Cardinals selecting running back Ryan Williams in the 2nd round of the draft. It sent a message to Wells that he would need to play at a higher level. Due to the emergence of Williams as a force, the Cardinals traded veteran RB Tim Hightower. When Williams went down with a season ending injury the pressure on Wells to perform only increased. Though Beanie has not ducked away from that pressure, or contact from his opponents. Instead Beanie has excelled in his role as a feature back gaining 381 yards, 6 TD's, and one heck of a hit on Vikings CB Cedric Griffin.
Defensive Game Ball:
AJ Jefferson has had a tremendous workload piled onto his shoulders being a starting CB in the NFL, while being an undrafted player in only his second year. Due to the season ending injury to CB Greg Toler, AJ Jefferson became the best talent the Cardinals could field across from rookie Patrick Peterson to learn a new defense on the run and shutdown veteran starting WRs. Jefferson has answered the call, performing admirably in a defense that has been lackluster, and even performing on Special Teams. Jefferson is a no brainer for the Defensive Game Ball.
Calais Campbell, he has been a tower of strength for this defense in every game this season, he has played disciplined football, he has helped the Cardinals play top ten rushing defense when teams run towards the left side of their OL (I.E at Calais Campbell). He has been getting to the QB more than any other Cardinal, and has also applied a fair amount of pressure at other times too. Without Campbell the Cardinals defense and pass rush in particular would be looking even sicker than it is right now. If he keeps this up and others step up to the plate (Dan Williams, Joey Porter et al) the defense could see a sharp rise in their production.
So far the game ball of the season goes to Beanie Wells for his solid play to begin the season. Now that he is healed up from last seasons injury, he is having the best season of his young career and he dishes out some punishment when he runs. The Cardinals need to keep feeding him the ball while Kolb adjusts to the offense as the season goes on.
My nomination for game ball to this point would be Larry Fitzgerald. He has broken a few franchise records this season. That above all else nominates him in my mind. Please note, Beanie Wells was also a consideration, but I need to see more than 4 games from him.