The fact that the Cardinals are undefeated is one thing, but the teams they have beat in the process takes it to another level. Traveling to New England to knock off the Patriots and then beating a team from the same end of the country,
the Philadelphia Eagles, has had the nay-sayers out there turn their heads.
But Cardinals all-pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald still believes the respect for the NFC West as a whole is still not up to par with another east coast team coming to the Valley this weekend.
“You know anytime you play an AFC team, there is not much respect for the NFC West you know, on that end of the coast,” said Fitzgerald on Thursday as his Cardinals are preparing for the Miami Dolphins.
However people all over the league have been made very well away of what the Cardinals have accomplished so far this season, especially on the defensive side of the football. The Cardinals going into week four have allowed the second least amount of points, only trailing Seattle by one and are top ten in yards allowed, passing yards allowed, and take aways per game in the NFC.
With this defense seemingly dialed in, Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt believes they can keep this up as long as they continue executing their game plan.
“If we play our scheme well, which we have done the last couple of weeks, we’ve done alright,” mentioned Whisenhunt. “This is a good team. They play hard and it will be a big challenge for us.”
One area that the Cardinals are not top ten defensively is defending the run. They are currently 17th in that category. With the Dolphins coming to town, that is one area the Cardinals are putting extra focus on with how much they depend on their rushing attack.
The leader of that attack is Reggie Bush who is off to a fantastic start for the Dolphins. He is fifth in the NFL in rushing after three weeks and fourth in average yards per carry. Bush injured his knee in last week’s game against the Jets but he believes he will be ready by Sunday.
“They have done a good job on third down and that contributes to the way they run the ball,” explained Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes. “They have been running it great on first and second down and making it manageable for him (quarterback Ryan Tannehill) on third down. So for us we need to stop them early on and make them get into third and long situations.”
“Obviously we are 17th in total rushing and they are a rushing team so we want to take pride in that this weekend and be good against the run,” added Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington.
The rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill for Miami is off to a slow start in his first season in the NFL so that is another focus the Cardinals have defensively. He is last in the NFL in passer rating and has thrown four interceptions to just one touchdown. It is the Cardinals hope to get into his head early and force him to make mistakes.
If the Cardinals are still playing for the respect from the other end out the country, they have another golden opportunity to do so with Miami coming to town and a shot to be undefeated through the first month of the season.
Kick-off between the Cardinals and Dolphins is Sunday at 1:05 p.m. from University of Phoenix Stadium.