Cardinals notes: Abraham's sack count grows by one
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Cardinals outside linebacker John Abraham was credited with another sack in last Sunday’s game against the Texans, after a review by the Elias Sports Bureau.
Defensive end Frostee Rucker was originally credited for a sack of Case Keenum that resulted in a 23-yard loss. Rucker was the first defender in the area, but it was determined that Keenum regained his footing before Abraham tackled him.
Abraham finished with three sacks in that game and has six in the last three games, which is a franchise record. He is the active sacks leader with 128 career sacks, tying Hall of Famer Rickey Jackson for 11th place on the all-time list. He is 4.5 sacks out of the top 10, where former Giants great Lawrence Taylor and Leslie O'Neal reside in a tie at No. 9.
Abraham's six total sacks are tied for 19th place on the season leaders list. Abraham started the season as a backup/pass-rush specialist but became a starter when Sam Acho and Lorenzo Alexander were both lost to injuries in Week 3 at New Orleans.
"Guys that can rush the passer never lose that knack as long as they keep their body in great shape," said head coach Bruce Arians, who also noted how well Abraham has defended the run. "That's the part I'm pleasantly surprised with because he's being asked to do something he hasn’t been asked to do for a while."
Justin Bethel figured early in his NFL career his main role would come on special teams.
"It's something I was already comfortable doing," said Bethel, who blocked nine kicks in college at Presbyterian (enrollment of 1,172).
On Sunday, Bethel added another bullet to his resume that should further help his Pro Bowl chances. He blocked a field goal at the end of the half vs. Houston that ended up being the winning margin for the Cardinals in a 27-24 victory over the Houston Texans.
Bethel plays many roles on special teams in addition to his roles as gunner and on field-goal blocking and punt receiving teams. He's particularly adept at downing Dave Zastudil's punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line. But he likes blocking field goals best because "it's automatically taking points off the board and, if you block it right, you can get points on your board."
Bethel also blocked a field goal in a win over Detroit in Week 2. He enjoys the reputation that he's building.
"When I go out here on field goals, (opponents) are like, 'oh, that's him. Make sure you block him,' " he said.
But the 2012, sixth-round pick still has his eye on earning a cornerback spot. He is currently third on the depth chart behind Jerraud Powers and Antoine Cason.
Jaguars first-year coach Gus Bradley (the former Seahawks offensive coordinator) got his first taste of victory on Sunday after an 0-8 start that had many comparing the Jags to the infamous Buccaneers teams of the 1970s.
"We stayed with our principles and what we believed in," said Bradley, whose club beat Tennessee 29-27 after the Titans lost quarterback Jake Locker in the second quarter. "We didn't make any drastic changes. It was a great illustration to our team to have conviction and if you stay true to it, good things can happen."
Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew is on pace to post the worst rushing season of his eight-year career -- discounting last season when he played just six games due to an injury.
Jones-Drew has 143 carries for 432 yards -- a per-carry average of 3.0 that is more than a yard less than his previous low of 4.2 in 2008.
"We've been facing loaded boxes -- eight, nine guys in the box. We're under a new scheme, and it takes time to learn that zone scheme," he said. "And obviously, we've had a lot of turnover on our offensive line.
"We ran the ball much better than it looked like, stat-wise against Tennessee, so we want to continue on that path."
The Jaguars' roster features three former Cardinals: Receivers Stephen Williams and Kerry Taylor, and cornerback Jamell Fleming.
Last week was Taylor's first with the Jags after he was signed off the Cards practice squad. The ASU product was inactive for Jacksonville's win over the Titans.
Williams was claimed after the Seahawks waived him. He played in four games for Seattle but does not have a reception this season. Fleming was claimed off waivers in mid-September and has played in three games. He has been inactive for the past three.
Williams and Taylor were undrafted free agents. Fleming was the Cardinals' third-round pick in 2012.
Wide receivers Michael Floyd (shoulder), Brittan Golden (hamstring) and linebackers John Abraham (hamstring) and Dontay Moch (illness) did not practice on Wednesday. Wide receiver Andre Roberts (knee) and defensive end Frostee Rucker (calf) were limited.
If Floyd can’t go on Sunday, the Cardinals will be a little thin at receiver. Roberts would likely slide into the No. 2 role, with Jaron Brown and speedster Teddy Williams also potentially seeing snaps.
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