Four years ago when the Cardinals were making their magical playoff run, which led them all to their first appearance in the Super Bowl that year against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Karlos Dansby was one of the most important parts of Arizona’s defenses.
Like Daryl Washington now, Dansby was arguably the Cards best defender back in 2008. He was all over the field and constantly had a nose for the football. That season, Dansby had 119 tackles, four sacks, three fumble recoveries and a pair of interceptions.
After another big season in 2009 and another return trip to the playoffs for the Cardinals, Dansby decided to leave Arizona and sign a big multi-year contract with the Miami Dolphins. Having serious cap issues, the Cardinals front office just couldn’t afford giving Dansby a long-term deal.
Since joining the Dolphins, Dansby’s numbers have taken a bit of a hit. After having six interceptions in his last three seasons with the Red Birds, the former Auburn Tiger has had only one pick since. Dansby has seen his number of tackles, forced fumbles and fumble recoveries go down as well.
Returning this week to Arizona for the first time since leaving the Cardinals, Dansby made some news yesterday by saying his current Dolphins squad is more talented than any team he was on in Arizona, including the Cardinals team that went to the Super Bowl in 2008.
“I tell them every day, we’ve got what it takes — we’ve got more than what it takes. We’re more talented there than I was ever in Arizona, if you look at the stats, or you look at the players and the potential,” Dansby said during a media conference call Wednesday. “We’ve just got to put it together as a team. That’s what I told them, when we were there, we were a team, it didn’t matter, we were all in.”
If Dansby is talking about the defensive side of the football, he might have a legitimate claim. Miami’s defense has been solid through three games. They are allowing just under 65 yards per game on the ground, good for third in the league. They have also only allowed 66 points in three contests.
Arizona’s defense was clearly their Achilles heel back in 2008. They allowed 426 points during the regular season, good for third worse in the NFC and fifth worse in all of football. They were right in the middle of the pack in terms of yards allowed. They stepped their game up during the playoffs when it mattered most though.
The Cardinals offense that season is where this debate becomes comical. Led by Kurt Warner, a future hall of famer, with weapons like Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Steve Breaston and Edgerrin James, the Cardinals had one of the most dangerous offenses in the entire league. Arizona was fourth in overall total yardage and second in passing yards.
Miami’s offense this season is no where close to how good the Cards offense was four years ago. They have struggled putting putting points on the scoreboard and moving the football for the better part of three games.
Ryan Tannehill has a promising future, but he has gotten off to a bad start in his rookie season with four interceptions and only one touchdown. Of course, Tannehill doesn’t exactly have a lot of options to throw to with Brian Hartline being his top target through three games. Hartline wouldn’t be a top three option on most teams.
The one spot where this Dolphins offense might be slightly better is in their run game. Reggie Bush has gotten off to a solid start in 2012, but he is battling a knee injury and could miss Sunday’s game. In 2008, the Cardinals had James at the end of his career and a young Tim Hightower.
At the end of the day, Dansby’s comments aren’t surprisng. Most great players try to give their current team high praise, but looking deeper into both teams roster, this year’s Dolphins don’t belong in the same discussion with the 2008 Cardinals.