Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu signals before a play last week against the Patriots.
Communication is key.
It's a cliché that follows everyone around in life no matter what you are doing, and it's crucial when 11 men are lined up in a deafening stadium with 40 seconds (or less) to figure out what everyone is doing.
But "there were times we weren't on the same page," in the season opener, Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson said, a point made tangible on the 37-yard touchdown pass surrendered by rookie cornerback Brandon Williams.
Williams thought he was going to have safety help up over the top, but Peterson said once the slot receiver went in
motion on the play the coverage changed. Everyone in the secondary realized it but Williams.
"I knew it was on my end," Williams said. "I was the reason why they scored. It was a bad feeling."
All the Cardinals head into the second game against Tampa Sunday believing the mistakes have been rectified. It's hard enough winning games by simply making plays. The Cards don't want to make it harder with issues within their own control.
"We went into that game, the main goal was communication," safety Tony Jefferson said. "I don't think we necessarily did a good job communicating in the back end. As a safety, I take ownership in all that. You've got to get the calls relayed. Whether you think they got the call or not, it still falls on your head."
It wasn't just on the defensive side of the ball. There were a handful of times quarterback Carson Palmer and his receivers weren't aligned in what they wanted to do, resulting in incompletions that weren't even close.
"Not every play is perfect," Palmer said. "But that's what you strive for. You strive to be perfect on every play and it's not realistic to be perfect on every play as the season goes on. Those things come up. You iron them out and move on."
Defensive coordinator James Bettcher took some of the blame as well, saying that there needed to be more of an emphasis on pre-snap communication on his side of the ball. The Cardinals knew it would be loud in University of Phoenix Stadium. It figures to be loud again Sunday.
"There were a couple bloopers here and there," safety Tyrann Mathieu said. "But we all have to challenge ourselves personally."
Communication doesn't need to be hard. Coach Bruce Arians made that clear in talking about the TD pass.
"That's just giving a signal," Arians said. "That's so first grade. It's sickening to see that you'd have to coach that, since you coached it for 30 days (in training camp.)"
SIMON SAYS HE'S HEALTHY
New cornerback Tharold Simon dealt with serious toe issues that wiped out two of the three seasons he played in Seattle. Simon also sat out a practice in Week 1 with the Seahawks because of a knee issue, and while he was
taken off the injury report by Friday. He was inactive for the Seahawks' first game before being released this week.
Nevertheless, Simon, claimed off waivers by the Cardinals, said he is completely healthy and hoping he can reach some of the potential both the Seahawks and Cardinals think he has.
"I definitely feel like I'm still chasing something," Simon said. "Whatever happens, happens. … If it works in my favor, like Richard (Sherman) said, I think I can be one of the top corners."
Describing himself as "shy," Simon acknowledged he was anything but coming to the Cards, with former college teammates Peterson, Mathieu and Kevin Minter in the room.
"To be honest, this was the place I was hoping to come to," Simon said.
Arians said Marcus Cooper, the cornerback acquired in a trade at the end of the preseason, will have a role Sunday.
MATHIS, NELSON AMONG GAME-DAY DECISIONS; NKEMDICHE ADDED
Rookie defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche was added to the injury report as questionable with an ankle issue Friday. All the questionable Cardinals – including guard Evan Mathis (foot), receiver J.J. Nelson (shoulder) and running back Stepfan Taylor (knee) – were limited Friday and will be game-day decisions, Arians said.
Linebacker Kareem Martin (knee) and defensive tackle Frostee Rucker (knee) are out.
For the Buccaneers, the only player who didn't practice full Friday was defensive end Robert Ayers (ankle), but he joins five Bucs who are listed as questionable, including linebacker Devante Bond (hamstring), linebacker Lavonte David (shoulder), linebacker Adarius Glanton (knee) and safety Ryan Smith (hand).
Past images from games between the Cardinals and this week's opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers