Monday, June 11, 2012
Holliday adds to 'bunch' of leaders on 'D'
By Mike Sando
Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson hailed the Arizona Cardinals' defensive leadership during a recent interview with XTRA Sports 910 AM in Phoenix.
That leadership appears even more solid after the team re-signed 15th-year veteran Vonnie Holliday to a one-year deal.
The Cardinals announced the contract Monday, after Wilson made the following remarks to Dan Bickley and Mike Jurecki, via Sports Radio Interviews:
"I think the whole mood of the team has changed to a defensive mindset, so we feel like we’re the best unit on our team, to be quite honest with you. We feel like that we should be the ones winning games for us. …
"We feel like we have a bunch of leaders defensively. Right now, we don’t have that offensively. Not saying that it’s not gonna come around, obviously Larry (Fitzgerald) is a great player an he’s a great playmaker, but you have to have more than just Larry. And defensively, we feel like we have guys, we have leadership, and we have guys gonna hold people accountable for what we’re doing."
Holliday, 36, supplants the recently re-signed Clark Haggans, 35, as the oldest position player on the Cardinals. Holliday is the oldest player on the team and the NFL's oldest defensive lineman under contract, by my calculations. He played about 13 percent of the defensive snaps last season, his first with the Cardinals.
Arizona, despite the presence of young starters at every level of the defense, now has the second-oldest defensive players in the NFL on average, behind Washington. The other NFC West teams rank among the nine youngest in average age on defense.
As the chart shows, six of the 10 oldest defenders in the NFC West play for the Cardinals. San Francisco's Carlos Rogers just missed the list. He turns 31 next month.
We recently debated, with amusing results, whether the Cardinals have a few too many older backups on defense. Wilson obviously values the mix Arizona has put together on that side of the ball.