Three of their four starting defensive backs are gone – cornerback William Gay and safeties Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes. The lone starter remaining? All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson.
He's not going anywhere. But he has welcomed some new teammates – the Red Birds signed three cornerbacks via free agency: Jerraud Powers, Antoine Cason and Bryan McCann. Another came via trade, Javier Arenas. Three safeties came in free agency: Yeremiah Bell, Curtis Taylor and Jonathon Amaya.
The only returning defensive backs are safety Rashad Johnson, cornerback/safety Justin Bethel and cornerback Jamell Fleming.
As presently constituted, three of the four starters appear set – Peterson at CB and Bell and Johnson at the safety positions.
But it's early. A lot can happen before the season opener against the St. Louis Rams.
"We’ve got quality competition going on at corner,” coach Bruce Arians told azcentral.com, “that’s for sure.”
Cason, who played at the University of Arizona, has six years of experience in the NFL and Powers has five. Bell will entering be his 11th season in the league and Peterson has not missed a game in his first two seasons.
Experience abounds. Healthy competition will just make everyone better and more determined.
"It’s been a transition for me, being somewhere five years and being so different from here,” Cason told azcentral.com. “Everyone communicates pretty well, has fun. We’ve been around for a while, and we understand. You come out here, compete and have fun with the guys. That’s what makes it so special.”
The Cardinals ranked fifth in the league in pass defense in 2012, allowing 200.8 yards per game last season. With the addition of some veteran leadership in the defensive backfield like Arizona has already provided, the Red Birds are hoping that figure will improve even more.
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