TEMPE, Ariz. — Alfonzo Dennard slipped from New England Patriots starter in 2012 to more of a reserve role in 2013, then, following an injury, was waived by the team in May 2015.
During his time with the Patriots, the former seventh-round pick out of Nebraska in 2012 appeared in 29 regular season games, coming up with five interceptions and 90 tackles. He also appeared in four playoff games — starting all of them — producing two interceptions, one forced fumble and 10 total tackles.
In short, he was actually rather effective for the team, which is part of the reason why the Cardinals claimed him off waivers once he was let go by the Patriots.
Now in Arizona, Dennard is fighting to make the roster.
“I feel like it’s going pretty good,” he said of his time with the team. “It’s a lot of stuff I’ve got to work on, but it’s going to come with progress. Every day I’m just trying to get better.”
Dennard said he doesn’t have any ideas of where he might fit with the team, saying he’ll do whatever the coaches ask of him because “it’s a blessing just to be on anybody’s team in this league.”
Though he’ll have to prove himself during training camp, the Cardinals could very well need a player like the 5-foot-10, 200-pound former Cornhusker.
Arizona lost cornerback Antonio Cromartie to the New York Jets in free agency, leaving them with Patrick Peterson and Jerraud Powers as the only proven options on the roster.
“He’s a good vet that’s competing for a job,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “He’s been there, he’s played in big games. He’s got some habits we need to break — he hasn’t played quite as much man as we play, and we’re not allowed to press right now and that’s our forte.”
Dennard said there is always something that can be improved, adding that he is learning how to play the style of cornerback the Cardinals want.
His strength, though, is press-coverage.
“Get my hands on a receiver, I feel like I’ve got him,” he said.
Dennard said the coaches have not talked to him about any kind of role going forward, but whatever they decide, he’s on board. He said the Cardinals already have a very good defense, with talented players who work hard.
“I think I’m going to fit pretty well here,” he said.
And though he may not have expected to be in Arizona, Dennard is not lamenting the fact that he is no longer with the defending Super Bowl champions. After all, he said, it’s tough to be mad when you land with a team as talented as the one he’s currently on.
“That’s how God wanted it to be, so I’m just happy to be on the Arizona Cardinals right now.”