Expectations are extremely high for the Arizona Cardinals this season. Unfortunately, the team started off the year with a primetime dud, losing 23-21 to a New England Patriots team that was missing many starters. However, that loss came because the Cardinals were too tight, at least according to safety Tony Jefferson, who joined The Jim Rome Show on Monday and said the team was able to loosen up during their 40-7 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2.

“In the season opener, guys are hyped up especially. It was [NBC’s] Sunday Night Football, it’s the first game of the season, so guys are real antsy. So we got out of our game a little bit,” Jefferson said. “But this week, we played with a lot more swagger. Like coach said we were real loose and that’s how the Cardinals play their best ball, when we are just out there balling and loose.”

Jefferson also talked about the play of veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who scored his third touchdown of the season, a year in which there’s a lot of retirement speculation surrounding the 2004 first round NFL Draft pick.

“Larry is on his way to being 100 years old, but he’s still catching 100 yard passes every week,” Jefferson laughed. “So obviously Larry’s a future Hall of Famer, a guy I’ve really became close to being here, a great guy, love seeing him succeed. I think the outsiders see Larry as maybe he’s getting old blah, blah, blah, but I know the teams are still doubling him, and they respect, so it’s great to see Larry doing that.”

Last December, Jefferson’s fellow defensive back Tyrann Mathieu tore his right ACL, two years after tearing his left one. Jefferson said the fact that the organization still rewarded the 24-year-old with a lucrative contract in the off-season, and that Mathieu was back on the field for Week 1 is a testament of his true character, one that has overcome off-field demons.

“It was real tough. I mean a guy like that who’s been through so much, and has done what he needed to do to make sure that stuff doesn’t come back and haunt him, and he got rewarded for it,” Jefferson said. “But it’s great to have him back on the field, obviously he’s not 100 percent yet, but he’s doing his job and whatever he can do to help the team, and obviously Tyrann is one of the vocal points of this team. He’s kind of the heart and the soul of this football team and having him back is tremendous.”

The Cardinals (1-1) travel to Buffalo this weekend to take on the Bills (0-2).


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