Arizona Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes instigated the play of the game on Sunday during his team's 27-6 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. On the last play of the half, he sacked quarterback Michael Vick, forcing a fumble. James Sanders picked up the ball and ran 93 yards for the touchdown to end the half. It was a huge momentum swing. He was on Arizona Sports 620 to talk about that play and the team in general.
Through three games, the Arizona defense is allowing under 14 points a game and only a total of two touchdowns. But Rhodes is not satisfied yet.
"We are not great yet," he told Doug and Wolf. "We still have some things to work out. We still had some mistakes in the game this weekend, but I know that I don't think there are many teams or defenses that are going to play as hard as we do and as physical as we do. I will go out on a limb and say that. As far as being great? We are not there yet. We still got a lot of stuff to do and we know that. Everybody knows that as a unit, so we won't be resting on our ourselves and won't be too big-headed going into the next game because we know we still got work to do."
That attitude is noticeable in the locker room:
"It's very workman like," he explained. "Everybody ... this is what we expected. Like I said, we worked to get to this point - not only as a defense, but as a whole team. We've worked to get to this point. It's been hard work and it does show that hard work pays off. We've been putting the time in and putting in the hours. You see guys in on Monday in the cold tubs and in the hot tubs, getting their bodies right and hydrated. It's just every little detail and thing that you can do to get better as an individual and as a player and as a team you see those guys buying in and doing it. It's been fun to see."
This is a team that believed in itself, but then has risen, much like the mythical phoenix.
The play he made on Vick, he gives credit to the coaching staff.
"As a player, you get lined up and make sure you are in the right position, make sure you have the call right and then you just react. Your instincts take over from there. For me on that play, on third down, it was just a good call by coach [Ray Horton]. He likes to dial it up down there and he didn't disappoint. He sent me and I was able to get there. I beat the protection and got there and, like I said, it was a clear shot. Just tried to make sure I didn't ‘miss the layup' so to speak and made the play. It was a good play for us."
He didn't and the play was made.
The interesting thing is how Rhodes seemed to "come out" and establish himself on the defense. That is a little unfair. He missed half of last season with his broken foot. Add to the fact that he has Adrian Wilson playing alongside him in the secondary, the man considered the heart and soul of the defense, and you have a guy who doesn't get a lot of publicity these days.
The truth is he has been a very, very good player for Arizona since he was acquired. Ken Whisenhunt noted it in his postgame comments on Sunday. He said Rhodes "is a very talented player and he's an unselfish player." His play on Sunday (the tackle that kept DeSean Jackson out of the end zone, the sack/fumble, the two hits on Brent Celek that were devastating) prompted Whiz to say, "people will notice how consistently he's been playing."