With the Arizona Cardinals bye week fading fast and the Carolina Panthers still five days away, I thought we'd wrap up the week off with a simple idea. Now that we've seen six weeks of Cardinals' football there are some guys who have been surprisingly better than expected and some guys that have been disappointing. Granted, at 4-2 there are probably more surprises than disappointments but for sake of simplicity, I'll just choose one of each. Don't let my voice be the end-all be-all though. Jump into the water and add your most surprising and most disappointing Arizona Cardinals in 2008.
Most Surprising: I could take the easy way out and say Steve Breaston or Tim Hightower but that's too obvious. I'll instead give some love to a guy who's signing flew under the radar, Travis LaBoy. At the beginning of camp we didn't know much about him other than that he had some ability to rush the passer but that he'd be learning a new position. We weren't sure how quickly he'd pick up the new position but I think it's pretty fair to say he's pretty well acclimated after only six games. He's not only on pace for a career high in tackles and sacks but even when he's not recording sacks he's putting pressure on the quarterback. LaBoy was a monster during the season opener when he sacked JT O'Sullivan twice and caused a crucial fumbled that sealed the win. The most promising aspect of LaBoy's season to date is that he's still growing in his position and in this new defense. His most productive games should still be ahead of him and as he grows more comfortable he might very well end up being one of the better pass rushers in the NFC.
Honorable Mention: Bryan Robinson - I was terrified when we learned that Gabe Watson and Alan Branch would miss the first couple of games but the veteran stepped in and the front seven never missed a beat.
Most Disappointing: I'll admit that I mistakenly threw this guy's name into Pro Bowl
consideration during the offseason. Maybe I expected too much out of the guy while he's learning a new position or maybe he just doesn't have what it takes to be a top-flight player in this league. Antrel Rolle has taken a lot of heat for the secondary's inability to stop the big play in the passing game and for taking bad angles at times. The Cardinals have been burned by big pass plays several times and on at least a couple of instances it looked like Rolle bit on a play action pass. In this defense, Rolle is being asked to play centerfield while Adrian Wilson roams all over the field and if Rolle can't stay deep, this secondary is very flawed. It does seem that he's got the physicality to play the position and he just has to get his head wrapped around a new role on the defense. Rolle was put in a tough situation because he was injured for half of the preseason which slowed his progression, but he's got to get up to speed in a hurry. Hopefully Rolle continues to learn the position because if he become even an average safety and keep plays in front of him, this defense has the talent and play making ability to terrorize opposing offenses.
Honorable Mention: Levi Brown - Brown went through some growing pains as rookie last year but he's showed some of the same flaws this season. He's got to improve against speed rushers.
Those are my most surprising and most disappointing, who are yours? Agree or Disagree?