Arizona Cardinals defense benefiting from a pair of former Philly players

Kyzir White and K'Von Wallace showed the Arizona Cardinals defensive unit what they're capable of during the team's opening-day loss.
Arizona Cardinals v Washington Commanders
Arizona Cardinals v Washington Commanders / Michael Owens/GettyImages

It came as no surprise back in March when the Arizona Cardinals acquired free agent Kyzir White. After all, the inside linebacker was familiar with head coach Jonathan Gannon from the time they spent together last year with the Philadelphia Eagles. It also didn't hurt that Nick Rallis, White's former position coach in Philly, had been named the Cards' defensive coordinator.

White made his presence known early on last Sunday during Arizona's 20-16 loss to the Washington Commanders. Halfway through the opening quarter, the 6 foot 2, 235 pounder launched his body into Commanders quarterback Sam Howell. Unfortunately, White was penalized 15 yards for head-to-head contact, but the crunching hit was an indication that the Redbirds were not to be taken lightly.

In retrospect, White was only practicing what Gannon had preached when he was hired by the Cardinals back in February. For those who attended the 40-year old's introductory press conference, the message was loud and clear.

""I'm talking the Arizona Cardinals. This is what our team's going to be. We're going to be adaptive, we're going to be violent, we're going to be explosive and we're going to be smart.""

Jonathan Gannon

Source: Cardinals new coach Jonathan Gannon speaks on team's future: 'Don't get it twisted, we're gonna win games' by Shanna McCarriston, CBS Sports

White certainly appears to be buying into the "violent" part that Gannon spoke of in his speech. It was just announced that the 27-year-old veteran was fined $18,056 for the brutal shot on Howell. The infraction dug the Commanders out of a deep hole, but it doesn't take away from the fact that a stern message had been sent by White.

Kyzir White and K'Von Wallace were the two leading tacklers for the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1

In all, White was credited with a team-high nine tackles versus Washington. Being acquainted with Arizona's coaches definitely paid off. And he wasn't the only former Eagles defender who has made his way to the desert.

Back on August 30th, the Cards front office claimed safety K'Von Wallace off of the waiver wire. General manager Monti Ossenfort jumped at the opportunity to supply Gannon with another piece from the Philadelphia contingent. As with White, it didn't take long for Wallace to make a contribution to his new team.

Wallace totaled seven stops against the Commanders, with White being the only Cardinals tackler to be credited with more. The 5 foot 11, 205 pound Wallace also showed his ability to defend the pass by breaking up two Howell attempts.

It appears that Arizona's defensive unit could very well be led by the newly-acquired Philly connection. Having a pair of individuals around who are well-versed in what Gannon and Rallis want to do can only help. With that type of knowledge, Cards fans can expect a big things out of both White and Wallace in 2023.


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