A big key to any success the Cardinals' defense might have moving forward after their Week Six bye will be the contributions they get from three starters who were obtained this past offseason — FS Kerry Rhodes, ILB Paris Lenon and ROLB Joey Porter.
What is the consensus in the desert on the job turned in up to now by the trio of Rhodes, Lenon and Porter?
In the words of the rock singer/actor/sports fanatic Meat Loaf: "Two out of three ain't bad."
While most team insiders believe Rhodes has been the team's top overall defender in the first five games, and Lenon has definitely surpassed the team's expectations at the strong inside linebacker position in place of the injured Gerald Hayes, Porter's output (only one sack) must be considered a disappointment.
"For a guy with the reputation of being a double-digit sacker, he hasn't produced the way they'd like," one team insider said of Porter. "He's made some important pressures, but overall, he has not made a real huge impact.
"He's getting swallowed up off the edge too much. There have been occasions when they really could have used a sack from him late in games, but he just hasn't gotten the job done.
"He hasn't been awful. But he hasn't been great, either."
Certainly not as great as Rhodes, who has earned rave reviews and has become a big-time playmaker, with fumble returns for touchdowns in each of his last two games.
"Aside from a few personal-foul penalties, he has really played well," the insider said of Rhodes, who has wasted no time becoming a terrific complement to veteran Pro Bowl SS Adrian Wilson. "They have similar skills and have developed a very nice chemistry. They could be the biggest pair of starting safeties in the league; they look like two linebackers back there."
Lenon also has more than earned his keep, making his share of big plays, staying on the field above and beyond the call of duty and very effectively calling the defensive signals.
"The fact he picked up the Cardinals' 3-4 defense so fast after coming from a 4-3 (in St. Louis), is very impressive," the insider said of Lenon. "He really has been a nice surprise."