When Rashad Johnson made a huge first quarter interception on the first play from scrimmage for the Falcons, Cardinals fans had to be incredibly excited. After the excitement wore off, something else probably popped into their minds. Where was Adrian Wilson?
Turns out, Wilson had been benched by Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt in favor of Johnson. At the time, it looked like a good thing considering that Johnson just happened to be in the right place at the right time to make the pick. The same could be said for when he caught the ball after Greg Toler went sprawling out of bounds to save the fumble. Would Wilson have been ready to make those plays? Who knows.
What we do know is that because of a couple of errant plays against the Packers, it seemed that Coach Whiz was sending a message to his team. No matter who you are or what position you play, you are liable to take care of your assigned job. If you don't, someone who can do that job will replace you.
And this is exactly what needed to happen.
There are other players that could have been benched, but the significance of benching Wilson is far greater. He is the most tenured Cardinal on the team and benching him sent a shockwave through the ranks. Everyone realized that if A-Dub can get benched, they can too. No one's job is completely safe.
For a guy that played the most defensive snaps out of any player in the NFL last season, this was a huge sign. And it was one that Whisenhunt conveyed pretty clearly. It was the right decision. He needed to find a way to spark his team, to get them out of their current six-game slump.
It didn't have an immediate effect, but it will down the road. Everyone is on notice now. And if they don't perform to expectations, they will -- and should -- be benched.