CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 24: Kerry Rhodes #25 of the Arizona Cardinals sits on the field injured as teammate Adrian Wilson #24 looks on during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Mike Sando, the NFC West blogger over at ESPN, did a post a few days ago listing the starting safeties for each team and the depth behind them. The Arizona Cardinals' two starters are Kerry Rhodes and Adrian Wilson, with Wilson being a Pro Bowler last season.
The team added one free agent, drafted a new player and they also have two undrafted free agents on the roster to help bolster the safety position. But if A-Dub or Rhodes get injured again this season, causing one or both of them to miss some games, it could be bad news for the Red Birds.
The play of former Crimson Tide member, Rashad Johnson could be categorized as inconsistent at best. As Sando notes, he played 498 defensive snaps last season, but he often looked lost on the field and out of position.
James Sanders is a veteran that has played for some good teams in the past, but he is looked at as more of a special teams contributor and a routine fill in. His experience would help him fare well against opposing offenses should he be required to play more, but his age may hold him back a bit.
After those two, we have three rookies. The Cardinals drafted Justin Bethel in the sixth round, presumably to play all over in the secondary, including at safety. At this point, even defensive coordinator, Ray Horton has noted how raw Bethel is, especially considering the small school he came out of (Presbyterian). Then there is Blake Gideon, a safety from Texas and Eddie Elder, the hometown player from Arizona State. Both of these players will need to show something drastic to make it onto the Cardinals roster.
Keep in mind that Rhodes broke his foot last season, as well as sustaining other injuries that caused him to miss a total of nine games. Had Wilson not played through a torn biceps muscle, the Cardinals' secondary might have looked more like the Patriots' secondary.
If these injuries pop up again, would you be comfortable with the guys playing behind them to move into starting roles? It would presumably be Johnson becoming a starter first, with Sanders then being a backup to him. The team would undoubtedly suffer from not having two top tier safeties on the field, helping to command and lead the defense.
What are your thoughts on this? How would the Cardinals fare if they were to lose one or both of their starting safeties? Tell us what you think.