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Rhodes, Cardinals’ defense aims to ‘hit the ground running’

At this time last year, most of the NFL players were still
on vacation instead of attending voluntary workouts like
they are now.

The 2011 lockout hindered the training and preparation for
the upcoming season, but the players are now more eager to
get in a complete offseason workout with their teams.

“I think it’s very beneficial. You get to be around each
other. This is the time where I think teams form and bond
and get to where we know each other and know what each
other likes to do,” Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes said

“Just to be around the guys and feel that camaraderie—
that’s great. You know, last year was a unique situation
where some things had to be done in a different way. To
get back to it now has been good.”

Rhodes missed eight games last season from a fracture in
his foot, but returned for two games before the end of the
season. He finished with 26 tackles and two fumble
recoveries for the year.

“I’ve been to the gym a lot,” Rhodes said. “But getting
back here to see the guys, just see what they’ve been up
to, see how good of shape they’re in or how much out of
shape they’re in, it’s good.”

Rhodes has high hopes for the defense this year. The team
started slow in 2011, allowing 24.5 points per game in the
first half of the season, but surrendered just an average
of 19 over the final eight.

“You want to hit the ground running, no question. I think
we finished 7-2 down the stretch. I think as a defensive
unit, we got a lot of things and got better as the year
went on,” Rhodes said. “Nothing really carries over into
another year, so to speak. But inside, we feel real good
about where we ended. If we continue that, we’ll be fine.”