The one bright spot about the Cardinals defense against the Panthers, if you could pick a bright spot, was how they fared against the run.
They kept the dual threat attack of DeAngelo Williams and Johnathan Stewart in check, holding them to only 56 combined yards rushing.
“We played well against the run last week,” defensive tackle Dan Williams said. “It was a team effort and everybody was gap sound, we were just able to be in the right place at the right time.”
Williams, who is part of that front four, got his first career start on Sunday. The 24-year-old was the Cardinals 1st round pick in 2010, he played in 15 games last season and compiled 38 total tackles.
Even though the Cards held the run in check, they still gave up big numbers through the air, something Williams feels was partly due to the team’s inexperience playing with each other.
“It’s never okay when a man throws for 400 yards,” Williams said of Cam Newton’s 422 yard day. “It was the first time we all played together and we made a few mistakes, but now we’ve been working hard trying to correct them and it makes you excited to play Washington to see if we can correct those mistakes.”
The defensive lineman was criticized during the preseason for showing up to camp overweight, but now seems to be progressing well.
Williams attributes this progression to his fellow teammates and being better prepared for the speed of the NFL game.
“This year I have a great help in veteran guys like [Darnell] Dockett and Vonnie [Holliday],” Williams said. “All those guys have been helping me and teaching me. I think the biggest change is now I think I got a little accumulated to the speed of the game. I feel like I’m more prepared and know what to expect now.”