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Big Hit, Big Pick For D.J. Swearinger

Posted Oct 17, 2016

Notes: Cardinals safety performing well; Floyd plays less but gets TD; Palmer OK

Cardinals safety D.J. Swearinger picks off a pass in the end zone in the third quarter.

D.J. Swearinger is a hard-hitting, throwback safety in a league moving away from them.

He learned that during his second year in the NFL when, after three big collisions, he received a warning letter from the league that said they would be watching his tackling closely for the next 15 games.

So the Cardinals safety was pretty pumped after Monday night’s 28-3 win over the Jets because he not only delivered a big hit on Jets receiver Charone Peak in the third quarter, but did so without drawing a penalty flag.

“It feels great to lay a blow like that and get the crowd into it, get my teammates into it,” Swearinger said. “It gets the juice going.”

Swearinger said he was first angling for an interception, but when Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick held the ball a little longer, “I had to make him pay for it.”

He would get his interception later on the drive anyway, dipping in front of Jets wideout Brandon Marshall in the end zone and snagging the pass to keep the lead at 21-3.

“I guess I showed everything on that one drive,” he said.

Swearinger has been a regular presence on the field since an injury to Tyvon Branch, which pushed Tyrann Mathieu into the slot and opened up a spot at safety.

Coach Bruce Arians has been pleased with Swearinger’s progress, but does have one critique.

“He’s been playing really, really solid,” Arians said. “If he just celebrated more on the sideline than on the field I’d be a little bit more happy.”


Wide receiver J.J. Nelson played a bigger role in this game than he had in the past five. The second-year speedster finished with two catches for 16 yards as well as a pair of end-around runs for 23 yards.

Nelson was also the target on the lone Cardinals’ deep ball of the contest, when quarterback Carson Palmer chucked it to him on a free play after the Jets jumped offside. Arians said Nelson’s presence puts stress on defenses.

“That’s what he does best,” Arians said. “He and Smoke (John Brown), that’s what they’re here for.”

Nelson and Jaron Brown saw more snaps than usual as Michael Floyd’s playing time continued to dwindle following his early-season struggles. Floyd did make the most of his limited opportunities, catching a pair of passes for 22 yards, including an impressive one-handed grab in the end zone for a nine-yard touchdown to close out the scoring.

“People have jumped on him, unfortunately,” Palmer said. “A dropped ball here and there, but Mike makes plays. That’s what he does. It was a fantastic play he made on the touchdown.”


There was some consternation when Palmer left a game for the second time in three weeks in the fourth quarter, but this injury shouldn’t force him to miss any time.

After sitting out last week against the 49ers with a concussion, Palmer injured his hamstring late against the Jets. However, he said it was only cramping and there won’t be any lasting effects.

“A number of long, long-play drives, just a little dehydration,” Palmer said. “A little cramp.”

Jaron Brown also left the game late with a knee injury. Arians said he is unsure of the prognosis as Brown was getting examined after the game, but “it appears it’s not as serious as it looked.”

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