When the Arizona Cardinals played the Atlanta Falcons, there were a few changes in the playing rotation. Safety Adrian Wilson, who had played almost every snap up until that point in the season, did not play in nickel packages. Rookie Michael Floyd was benched during the game, as was quarterback John Skelton. Rookie cornerback Jamell Fleming did not play on defense.
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt sent a message to the team that changes were going to be made to get more plays made. He made good that promise in a few places.
Wilson, aside from missing a game against Philadelphia, has only missed two defensive snaps before Sunday. He played only 41 of 73 defensive plays.
Kerry Rhodes and Paris Lenon were the ironmen once again, playing in every snap. Daryl Washington was in all but one and cornerback William Gay came out for only two plays. Sam Acho, Patrick Peterson and Darnell Dockett were next on defense with 63 snaps, followed by David Carter (who started in place of Calais Campbell) with 61 snaps.
Greg Toler was the nickel corner and played 40 snaps and made an impact. He just needs to stay healthy.
Quentin Groves was in for 55 plays at outside linebacker. Reggie Walker got some snaps on the edge, playing in 26 plays and Zack Nash had two snaps. James Sanders and Rashad Johnson split time in the game in passing situations. Sanders had 17 plays and Johnson 12.
The other players on defense were Dan Williams with 33, Nick Eason and Vonnie Holliday with 12, Ronald Talley with 10, Michael Adams with three and Stewart Bradley with one.
Ken Whisenhunt was quoted at his press conference about Wilson:
"It's never easy but Adrian is a real pro and he handled it well. But that's where we are as a team. James (Sanders) and Rashad (Johnson) deserved a chance. We are trying to get better."
I found this interesting, but less so about Wilson. I have always felt that he should get some time off. I wonder if this was a one time deal to send Wilson a message that he needs to practice better and make more plays.
It also reveals something about Paris Lenon in the eyes of the coaches. Since he is getting all the snaps at his position, it would seem that Stew Bradley is just not in good graces with the coaching staff. The coaches found time for Reggie Walker, but Bradley still rides the pine. I was excited about the signing and was optimistic after his play in the preseason. Apparently he does not deserve to play like Johnson and Sanders do.
Something I expect to see this week is a big effort from Wilson. He is clearly unhappy about it and is the type to take things like this personally. He will make some big plays against the Rams in Sunday.
Any surprises for you? Anyone who should be getting more or less time in your eyes?
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