Safeties in numbers

Posted by Darren Urban on December 26, 2013 – 10:38 am

Tony Jefferson said he normally gets nervous before games. For some reason, he didn’t feel that way Sunday in Seattle. Forget about the part that he was making his first NFL start, or that it was coming in a hard place to play against arguably the best team in the NFL. And it’s not like defensive coordinator Todd Bowles took it easy on Jefferson, playing the undrafted rookie all 52 defensive snaps.

It’s not like the Cards had much of a choice, given the season-ending knee injury to starting safety Tyrann Mathieu and the bad ankle sprain of backup Rashad Johnson. But Jefferson had a solid game (one that could have been even more exciting had the rules not said a missed field goal is dead once the ball hits the upright, since Jefferson grabbed it on the fly and went to return it.) More importantly, it could have given the Cardinals a little breathing room going into the offseason at the position.

Johnson, who could be ready to play this week, will be back next year. But Bell is older and a free agent, and there will remain a big unknown of how long Mathieu will be out rehabbing his torn ACL/LCL. If Jefferson can work out long term, even as just depth, speaks again to the job GM Steve Keim has done building the roster. “I did (like what I saw),” Bowles said of Jefferson. “He’s a tough tackler. He has some things to learn mentally and needs to be a little more vocal, but as far as a straight football player, he was pretty good last week.”

Said Jefferson, “I was just ready to get out there and hit somebody.”

With Mathieu’s rehab, Keim’s approach to the offseason in terms of safety will be altered from what it would have been. But to have Jefferson hold up against the Seahawks gives the Cardinals more options than they might have had.


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Posted in Blog | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “Safeties in numbers”

  1. By shane on Dec 26, 2013 | Reply

    in my opinion he should start over Rashad Johnson in the future.. i like rashad but idk if hes a real nfl starter more of a rotational player …any way hope he can play sunday

  2. By joe holst on Dec 26, 2013 | Reply

    they need a stud, high draft pick that will cover tight ends and thump receivers. 49erd have Reid(1st rd) Seahawks have Earl thomas pro bowler, y.Bell is too slow to cover anyone.

  3. By William Barry on Dec 26, 2013 | Reply

    We could really use more backfield help…on another venue, I really think if the cards can get to the playoffs, I think teams are going to be really scared to play us, since our defense is great, and the offense has been scoring more points as of late.

  4. By lake havasu joe on Dec 26, 2013 | Reply

    As a OU fan i love That Tony Ended up on my cards he has great potential just need a good coach to unlock it.

  5. By shannon robinson on Dec 26, 2013 | Reply

    I’m a Yeremiah Bell fan – I think he’s underappreciated. He’s a big hitter and calls the defensive coverage adjustments for the Cards. Can he play another year at 38? I don’t know but remember his salary is $850T which was cheap for his experience and leadership. He didn’t miss a game. I hope he returns – solid play with great value. I also really wanted a Safety in the draft and it took me a while to realize that’s why they drafted the Honey Badger. My guess is Mr. Keim drafts a strong safety in the second round. Yahoo for Tony Jefferson – best undrafted rookie of the year – he proved that the Cards treat everybody equal once you put on that redbird jersey.

  6. By Dr. G. on Dec 26, 2013 | Reply

    It provides comfort for the fans, and now proves that there should be rare cases of “rebuilding years” in the NFL. The Cards mgmt/staff/coaching has proven that with no argument. Some of the losses should have been wins, and most of our wins were legitimate dominance over other teams. If the Cards had some luck, it was bad luck… and some really ignorant refereeing.

    Any concerns I had earlier about the 2014 draft and free agency are quelled. Dansby was here to supplement while Washington sat 4 games. Dansby seems not to recognize that the coaching and his teammates put him in position many times to be successful…he pounds his chest instead..

    Waiting in the wings are Acho, Alexander, Okafor, Cooper, and Williams, et al…. We have some 1-yr contracts to address, but if some choose to exit, so be it. Some re-signings, the draft and free agency will bring a very competitive team back for the competition to worry about. I ponder the Fitz contract and Palmer’s eventual protege. (His initials may be A J Mc)


    My very best to you Darren, the staff, coaches, players and fans for the New Year! It’s going to be excited anticipation….

  7. By chris on Dec 27, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren?

    As Johnson & Mathie are listed as FSs I assume Jefferson played FS as well. So expecting our SS Bell not to come back it leaves a different position wide open.

    How easy is the tranistion between the two safety positions? Could Jefferson back up both with possibly Johnson going back (i think at his draft he was listed SS anyway) to SS?

    Of course the alignments on every play are different, but is the basic nature of those two positions rather similiar or different?

  8. By Darren Urban on Dec 27, 2013 | Reply

    Chris —

    RE: Safeties

    I think it depends on the play schemes. Rashad Johnson was playing SS last year in place of Adrian Wilson. It just depends on what Bowles seeks.

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