Kerry Rhodes: ‘We know we’re not great’

Sep 28, 2012, 5:42 PM | Updated: 6:14 pm

The Arizona Cardinals’ defense has led the way during the team’s impressive 3-0 start. After smothering the offenses of the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, the Cardinals defense has become the talk of the league.

But to Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes and the rest of the team, they still have a ways to go before they can be called elite.

“We know we’re not great and we know we’re not where we want to be yet,” Rhodes said after practice on Thursday. “We’ve got work to do and we’ve come out these first two practices and have gotten after it. So, nobody is slacking off. We’ll be ready to go.”

Rhodes attributes the defensive success to the team’s poor showing during the preseason, that saw them give up the most total points in the league.

“Coming into the year we knew we had the potential to be one of the better defenses and we came into camp and had a lot of swagger and had a lot of confidence,” said Rhodes. “But I think the best thing for us was the preseason when we went out and didn’t play that well. It let us know we had to come out and be prepared every game and be ready to go every game. I think that helped us out a lot.”

This wakeup call must have helped as the Cardinals have surrendered the second-fewest points in the league and have allowed only 13.3 points per game. Their defense is holding opponents to a 33 percent third down conversion rate and ranks second in the NFL in sacks with 12, coming from a combined seven players.

For Rhodes and the Cardinals’ ninth-ranked defense, their next opponent, the Miami Dolphins, pose a unique threat. The Dolphins have done a solid job of keeping rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill upright, allowing just two sacks in their last two games.

“We know this guy coming in is a young guy but he’s looked good on film. He makes a lot of the right reads so I’ve been impressed with him,” said Rhodes. “They’ve done a good job of protecting him.”

With a win over the Dolphins, the Cardinals would start 4-0 for the first time since 1974 when they when they called St. Louis home.

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