Rookie nose tackle David Carter sacks Giants quarterback Eli Manning and forces a fumble last Sunday.
David Carter remembers being beat by his younger brother on their high school debate team.
"He beat me, I have to give him credit on that," said Carter, a rookie defensive lineman for the Cardinals. "But hopefully I can pay him back."
The brothers, David and Chris, were selected in the 2011 draft, 22 slots apart. Chris went to the Steelers, who will be visiting Arizona and the Cardinals Oct. 23, after the Cards' bye week.
But before David Carter can worry about that game, he has work to do in Sunday in Minnesota. Although Carter put up some impressive statistics last week, the defense needs to crank up to turn the 1-3 season around.
"I did a good job but I have a lot of work to do," he said. "I'm not the best player to ever play so I have a lot of work to do—I have a lot of stats to get. There's a lot of season left."
Carter started all 12 games his senior year at UCLA and he's been on the field in every game this season. In the third quarter of last week's game against the Giants, Carter took down quarterback Eli Manning for his first career sack, forced a fumble and had a career-high three tackles.
With the Cardinals losing their last by three by four points or less, he knows that every play counts.
The Cardinals are reaping the benefits of their six draft picks; five have appeared in all four of this season's games. Carter has been rotating with second-year player Dan Williams, who was a first-round selection in the 2010 draft.
"From a standpoint of making a play in a game, it's always good to see a young guy doing that, because their confidence continues to improve," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "You know we have some good players there already. If you can add a young player that's making some plays for you to that mix, it makes you better."
Carter credits his smooth transition to the increased speed and physical demands of the league to the guidance of veteran defensive linemen Nick Eason and Vonnie Holliday.
"They're definitely helping the transition to be a lot easier than what it would be without them," Carter said. "I really appreciate all the help they give."
Carter said the close relationships between the veterans and new players will be the key to the Cardinals turning the season around. Sam Acho, a rookie linebacker under the tutelage of veteran linebacker Clack Haggans, has also seen playing time.
"We didn't have the off-season to work together and we're trying to build that connection during the season," Carter said. "When we build that relationship and when we become in sync as a team, I think its going to be easy street from there."
More than 200 family members and friends plan to attend the showdown between the Carter brothers.
David said he and his brother try to keep the real competition isolated to the field. Off the field, he attributes his success to their competitive but encouraging relationship.
"Even though he's younger than me, I look up to him and he looks up to me too," he said. "And if anyone wants to give extra tickets, please feel free. Put that in there."