Safety Kerry Rhodes will play against the Jets Sunday for the first time since he was traded to the Cardinals in 2010.
Kerry Rhodes' love for the New York area didn't go away after his trade from the Jets to the Cardinals in 2010.
"It was my home for five years," Rhodes said. "I know a lot of people there, got a lot of fans still there. I've been getting a lot of love actually from the fans there how much they miss me and how they're excited to see me and how they'll be wearing my jersey at the game. That type of stuff, it's good to hear."
The stuff that's bad to hear, Rhodes already heard it. It came from the Jets' coach, Rex Ryan, who after trading Rhodes to the Cardinals wrote in his book "Play Like You Mean It" that Rhodes was selfish and too flashy. "He was a talented SOB, that's for sure, but he wasn't one of us."
The criticism stung Rhodes. He had no desire this week to delve back into that story, however.
"Had we talked about this two years ago, maybe there would have been some things," Rhodes said. "But now I'm in a great situation. Life is good for me."
"He has stuff he has to worry about with that team right now and right now I got stuff to worry about here," Rhodes added. "I'm trying to get us to get a win. … It's sad. It's sad that those things happen but for me I'm a professional and I know my work and as long as my teammates and coaches know my work here, I'm fine."
Since arriving in Arizona, Rhodes played at a Pro Bowl-level in his first year – teammate acknowledged at the time it should have been Rhodes and not him with the Hawaii nod in 2010 – and had last year blown up after breaking his foot.
This season, after pledging to bounce back, Rhodes has been solid and is a choice of the site profootballfocus.com as one of the deserving free safety in the NFC to be the Pro Bowler once again. Rhodes has a sack, two interceptions, seven passes defensed and 47 tackles despite missing a game with back problems.
It can be argued that Rhodes has been, viewing both production and salary, better than the man he replaced, Antrel Rolle, who chased big dollars in signing with the New York Giants.
"I'm doing everything the team has asked me to do, playing solid and I think playing pretty well," Rhodes said. "I haven't had many bad plays so I think I'd grade out OK."
BETHEL'S TIME AT CORNER
Rookie Justin Bethel never quite got settled into one position in college, playing both cornerback and safety – mostly safety by the end – and so he is used to playing both. The Cardinals started him out at safety but have also, as the weeks have gone on, introduced the speedy Bethel to cornerback.
Defensive coordinator Ray Horton told Bethel he was going to get some snaps at cornerback before the game against the Rams last week, so it didn't surprise Bethel when he was sent out to guard Chris Givens on his first play. It didn't work out all that well, after Givens made an impressive catch for a 37-yard touchdown bomb.
"I felt I had good coverage," Bethel said, thinking that had he reached up with his other hand, he might have batted down the pass. "But it was a great throw, great catch. It just happened to be on me on the first time."
Horton agreed, saying he though Bethel had "fantastic" coverage on the play and that he won't hesitate to use Bethel at cornerback.
"He just didn't make the play," Horton said. "It happens to every single (cornerback) in the league. He will continue to play because he is getting better."
"It sucks to give up that touchdown," Bethel said. "But I feel I can become a person they can count on to come in and make plays."
PRESSURE ON LINDLEY
Rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley admitted this week he expected the Rams to have blitzed him more last week than they did. That probably is not going to be an issue this week with the ultra-aggressive Jets.
"We are going to see the same thing, (I'm a) young guy, try to rattle him," Lindley said. "You have to always been ready for everything."
Jets linebacker Calvin Pace said the New York defense will just stay true to what they do – which usually means heavy pressure.
"We'll give him some different looks and just try to be in his face as much as possible," Pace said. "The key for us is to try and slow (running back) Beanie Wells down as much as possible, so then we can go out there and kind of pin our ears back."