It was only a month ago that Lamarr Woodley made headlines with his complaints about defensive coordinator James Bettcher's ability to call a defense. The "Madden" reference was thrown around and it drew the ire of not only Arizona Cardinals fans, but many within the media, questioning Woodley and his motivation and understanding of what Arizona is building.
Well, Woodley decided to double down on those comments on a spot on NFL Media's R&B Podcast with Michael Robinson and Nate Burleson.
There was a lot to take in, so maybe listen to the entire podcast with Woodley, starting at 7:16, but here are some really interesting highlights.
Coming from Pittsburgh, you know when you have a winning team and I've seen that. I just felt like the defensive coordinator didn't listen to his players. You know how in some situations, coaches feel like they know more than the players. When you're out there playing the game of football, you have to listen to the guys out there on the field. Me coming from coach Dick LeBeau, he was that type of guy that listened to his players and he helped make those adjustments during game time.
Last year in Arizona, it wasn't that same feel. I felt like damn, this is a Super Bowl team. A lot of people look at it and say Arizona would have a chance to do the same thing again next year. But we know that teams change every year and it's hard to get back to that NFC Championship Game and to that Super Bowl, and we have a lot of guys that have played in this league that have never been there. So you have to seize the moment while you're there, and I felt like he just didn't take his players' advice.
Nate Burleson then jumped in and went from host, to insider and had an extremely interesting take:
I was talking to a player that will remain nameless on the Arizona Cardinals team, and he said, 'We had so much talent on both sides of the ball, specifically on defense - I don't understand why our defensive coordinator would try to, using a baseball quote, change the game in the ninth inning.'
He said, 'We showed up to Carolina with an over-complicated game plan and it was much different than what we were used to. So what people saw was us getting our ass kicked. What we knew as a players was we went to a game plan doing something completely different than we were accustomed to.'
What this all means? I am not sure. I have had some concerns with Bettcher's in game adjustments, but his overall game planning never seemed to be a weak spot in a strong first year as a defensive coordinator.
I think Bettcher's growth is an important and interesting aspect to watch moving forward, because he needs to develop that "on the fly" game and learn to make those big adjustments against good teams. When you are a team like Arizona, that has enough talent to win 10+ games just based on that talent being better than the guy across from them, it makes your job easy. The next step is finding a way to dominate against every team, not just the one's you are clearly better than.