Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
New start for Swearinger back in Arizona
D.J. Swearinger said he's learned his lesson. But just in case he hasn't, Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks said he plans to meet with the newly reacquired safety and have a personal chat about what went down with him earlier this week with the Redskins.
"He and I have yet to have that conversation, which we will," Wilks said Wednesday. "I don't stand in front of you guys and throw coaches or players under the bus. That's not my style. I don't have a problem with his opinion, but we're not going to air that opinion outside the building. So, he will quickly understand that and if he has any issues, that's where that accountability comes in, players and coaches."
The Cardinals claimed Swearinger off waivers from the Redskins after Washington released him following critical comments he made about defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. Swearinger returns to the team where he spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
"It's been a rocky Christmas for me and my family," Swearinger said after his first practice with the Cardinals. "The last two days have been up in the air, but it's a blessing that I'm back in Arizona and I'm ready to get started."
He also said he's ready to keep his mouth shut, although he still finds it difficult to believe he was released over what he said following a 25-16 loss to the Titans in which he criticized Manusky's man-to-man coverage scheme against backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
"I definitely didn't think it would cost me my job," he said. "If anything, I thought they might discipline me. But I definitely didn't think it would cost me my job, knowing that me and the coach had an understanding. But it is what it is, everything happens for a reason and I'm happy it happened and I'm ready to move forward."
Swearinger said he's learned a valuable lesson out of the ordeal.
"Just living and learning, man," he said, "understanding it wasn't my role to call out the defensive coaches, even though like I said, we had a relationship, me and the coaches. We had a good relationship. It's just learning, though, that I'll keep my mouth shut next time and just keep playing football and do what I do on the football field and let my talents do the talking."
On that front, the Cardinals couldn't be happier about acquiring an additional safety that's still relatively young (27) and affordable (he has one year remaining on a contract that pays him $4.25 million). They can pair him with Budda Baker and have two hard-nosed playmakers in the secondary, regardless of what they plan to do with veterans Antoine Bethea, who has one year left on his deal, and Tre Boston, a soon-to-be unrestricted free agent.
"I'll say this, No. 1, about claiming him - It was a great deal by us," Wilks said. "I don't know him personally, but I like his play, having scouted him and going against him. He's a very physical guy, tough, nasty, with the DNA that we look for.
"Personality-wise, talking to everybody in the building, everybody in the locker room, they love him. The guys in the locker room were excited to see him because they understand what he brings on and off the field."
Wilks wasn't sure what type of role Swearinger might have for Sunday's season finale against the Seahawks, if he plays at all. Swearinger, though, is hopeful of playing.
"I'm a very passionate player, I put my heart in this game," he said. "You put the camera in my face after we lose a game where we're supposed to go to the playoffs, I may say some things that I shouldn't say. That's on me. I've got to control that and be better than that, but like I said, I live and learn and I keep moving forward."
SERIES HISTORY: 40th regular-season meeting. Series tied, 19-19-1. Arizona has won three in a row at CenturyLink Field and four of the past five there. With a win, the Cardinals would become the first road team to win four straight games at CenturyLink Field. The Cardinals are 7-9 overall at CenturyLink, which opened in 2002. The Seahawks beat the Cardinals in Arizona earlier this season, 20-17. If the Cardinals win on Sunday, they'll split the season series with Seattle for the sixth time in the last eight years.