Adrian Wilson, despite reduced role, 'still one of the leaders'

Jonathan Daniel

Adrian Wilson saw fewer snaps in Arizona's five-interception performance against Atlanta, but defensive coordinator Ray Horton says he's still one of the team's leaders.

After starting the season 4-0, the Arizona Cardinals have lost six-straight games. That's in spite of having the fourth-best pass defense in the league, currently averaging only 204.7 yards given up per game. That same defense picked off Matt Ryan five times in Week 11, a season high for the team. One of the differences between the Cardinals' defense in Week 11 and in previous weeks was the reduced presence of Adrian Wilson in favor of James Sanders and Rashad Johnson.

Defensive coordinator Ray Horton talked about Wilson at a recent practice, indicating how his role might shift going forward:

"Hopefully the message that's being sent by everybody is that the most important thing is to do your job and do your job well...When you are in there, it's not a right, it's a privilege to be in there and play defense. We're just trying to tweak some things and give some guys some opportunities to go. So where does he [Wilson] fit in? He's one of the leaders on our team."

Wilson is a 12-year veteran, but neither Sanders nor Johnson are wet behind the ears. Sanders is in his eighth season, while Johnson is in his fourth.

If the defense can turn in another performance like they did against Atlanta, they have a good chance of ending the losing streak. The Rams are in the bottom half of the league in virtually every passing category and have significantly less ability to display the kind of resilience the Falcons did.

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