Arizona Cardinals’ safety D.J. Swearinger talked about the team and the latest editions in Flight Plan.
On D.J. Swearinger’s first drive to the 2019 off-season camp (in his Cardinal Red Bentley) the safety spoke about how excited he is to be back in Arizona, his high expectations for the team, and the revamped defense.
First, he regarded the aspirations on his presence on the team as he is
"trying to find new culture, trying to get this defense back to being top-five and just playing Cardinals football like we once did in 2015. You don’t build a champion team in overnight, you don’t build a champion team when camp starts, you build it right now. You build it in April."
He then noted that he was familiar with defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, saying;
"Vance Joseph was my DB coach rookie year in Houston — I love his defense, I love what he brings, I love his mentality. He coaches it like he plays the game. He wants to dominant."
Shortly after taking about Joseph, he lauded over the new additions, saying;
"The pieces that we got are amazing. We brought some vets that are going to help us — Terrell Suggs is going to give us that old-school mindset going into year 17 — his experience alone is going to help the entire defense, the swag of the defense. — I played with Brooks Reed in Houston. Alford, Hicks we’ve got a lot of good pieces that’s done a lot in this league."
This is all coming from a more mature, seasoned D.J. Swearinger than we saw in his first stint with the Arizona Cardinals. After signing a three-year deal with Washington after having a successful second season in the desert, Swearinger grew as a leader for the Washington defense both in the locker room and in the stat sheet.
In his 31 games played for Washington, Swearinger continued to be his dominant hard-hitting self, but he also added a bit more range to his game playing both box and free safety. In those 31 games, he tallied 132 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, 20 pass deflections, four forced fumbles, and eight interceptions.
However, despite his success, Washington released him after he said critical comments towards the defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. Luckily, he didn’t last long on the waiver wire as the Cardinals swooped up his contract which plays out until 2020.
Swearinger has progressed his game mightily since his original stint in the desert. Not only was he a leader for Washington, but he was also a 2018-19 Pro-Bowl alternate and finished the season with a 79.8 grade, good for 13th in the NFL amongst all eligible safeties. Because of his improved play, age (27), and added leadership qualities, Swearinger figures to be a building block for the future.
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