TEMPE, Ariz. — Last season, the Arizona Cardinals had one of the most feared and dynamic front sevens in the NFL.
Four games into 2014, however, there is barely anything left of the group that helped the team finish first in the league against the run and sixth overall.
In fact, due to offseason defections and a rash of injuries, only Dan Williams remains from the group that finished 2013, as he’s now surrounded by a couple veterans and a lot of younger players. In terms of tenure with the team, Williams has quickly become the elder statesman.
“It feels good,” he said. “I have the most longevity (of anyone) that’s been with the Cardinals, but it helps having two veterans — Frostee’s been playing nine years, this is Tommy’s 11th year, so the transition’s really easy because those guys played a lot of football and they definitely understand the game.
“But for the most part, we’ve been here all camp. This is Frostee’s second year here so we’ve been able to gel well together. I pretty much think we won’t even miss a beat.”
In last week’s defeat to Denver, the team’s first of the year, Arizona’s defense lost defensive end Calais Campbell to a strained MCL and linebacker Matt Shaughnessy to a knee injury. This was on top of the team already being without defensive lineman Darnell Dockett (torn ACL in training camp) and linebacker John Abraham (concussion), as well as linebackers Daryl Washington (suspension) and Karlos Dansby (free agency).
There’s only so much the team could prepare for, and there may only be so much the defense can take before cracks start to form. But as of now, there is no talk of anything like that.