Cardinals praise team build, toughness to overcome injuries

Oct 12, 2021, 4:49 PM
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) makes a touchdown catch against Cardinals corn...

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) makes a touchdown catch against Cardinals cornerback Robert Alford (23) during NFL football training camp practice, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Cardinals seemingly had a cornerbacks issue going into Sunday’s game.

Starter and standout Byron Murphy (ribs) was ruled out on Friday, and Marco Wilson (ribs) was eventually held inactive after being deemed questionable.

But Robert Alford and backup Antonio Hamilton stepped up when called upon, and they helped the defense hold back the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday’s 17-10 win.

“This team that they built during training camp is very special,” Alford told the media on Tuesday. “Marco and and Murph were down, and Jace (Whittaker) and Hamilton stepped up and of course myself stepped up this Sunday in their in their shoes … It just shows that this team is very special and they built this team in the right way from top to bottom.”

On Sunday, the Cardinals offense struggled to get going and the San Francisco 49ers seemingly had the momentum in the fourth quarter.

But both sides of the ball stepped up late to put the 49ers away and improve to 5-0. It showed a toughness that the Cardinals strived for leading into this season.

Multiple Cardinals players credited the front office for the makeup of this team. Veteran left tackle D.J. Humphries said that there has not been a case where someone disturbed the team’s chemistry.

“I think that’s when you give a shout out to the guys (general manager) Steve Keim and (vice president Adrian Wilson) and guys upstairs,” Humphries said Tuesday. “They do a good job of bringing in people that are like-minded in what we have going on here in the building, so we haven’t come into that issue. And I think that we have the type of group that is so welcoming and so open to conversation, that would be something we’ll be able to nip in the butt pretty quickly.”

The organization has benefitted from its offseason acquisitions and re-signings thus far, which has provided depth with veterans who have brought more leadership to the locker room.

Alford was one of those re-signings, after he was released in March following two lost seasons to injury. He was particularly effective on Sunday, only allowing one receiving yard when targeted, per Pro Football Reference.

Center Rodney Hudson, defensive end J.J. Watt, wide receiver A.J. Green among others have received high praise among their teammates after joining the Cardinals during the offseason.

Humphries said that he sees a similarity between this year’s team and the 2015 squad that reached he NFC Championship.

“We’ve got guys that don’t really care about stepping on toes or hurting feelings because we are trying to achieve the same goal,” Humphries said. “I think that was the one of the main things I picked up from that (2015) group, we held each other accountable and everyone policed themselves and that’s something that I see similar here and it’s good.”

Being able to overcome injuries paired with having a tough and mature locker room have proven to be x-factors for the Cardinals so far.

Their mantra has been to go 1-0 each week, regardless of circumstance.

“I know for a fact that this team is not going to get complacent,” Alford said. “We’re going to continue to push each other each and every day.”


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