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Cardinals' Wilson packs rare punch at impact

1/29/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

TAMPA, Fla. -- Adrian Wilson's free shot on Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb forced a fumble at a critical point in the NFC Championship Game.

 Wilson
With Super Bowl XLIII approaching, I asked Clancy Pendergast, the Cardinals' defensive coordinator since 2004, to share a few of his most memorable Wilson plays:

  • Eagles at Cardinals, Dec. 24, 2005: "He blitzed off the edge, ran over the running back and sacked the quarterback. That was the one that really jumps out at me." Wilson finished the game with two sacks. Arizona won, 27-21.

  • Bears at Cardinals, Oct. 16, 2006: "I blitzed him off the edge and he just ran clean right by one of their tackles." Wilson sacked Rex Grossman, forcing a fumble. Darnell Dockett recovered. This Monday night game would become notorious for other reasons.

  • Bills at Cardinals, Oct. 5, 2008: "His hit on [Trent] Edwards of Buffalo." Those who saw it won't forget it. Wilson knocked Edwards from the game and drew a $25,000 fine, which the Cardinals thought was unwarranted. Arizona won, 41-17.

Pendergast on Wilson's hitting in general: "Watching that from the sideline, when he hits somebody, the impact -- when he hits you, he hits you. He strikes you. He plays with such good leverage and he is so explosive in his lower body that he always strikes with the same shoulder, strikes on contact. That explosion with his legs. When I was coaching in Dallas, Darren Woodson had that similar impact ability to hit. Roy Williams did. There are very few safeties I've been around that have that type of impact strength when they hit someone."