A.J. Feely kicked for the Arizona Cardinals from 2010-2013 before being released in August. Feely, who helped the Cardinals to a 10-6 record last season, isn’t all that surprised that his former team is off to a 3-0 start in 2014.
“They have a good cockiness about them,” the 38-year-old said on The Morning Show. “It’s not an overconfident cockiness, but they do believe in themselves. They do believe in what (Bruce Arians has) preached to them – and that’s having accountability, having loyalty and really liking each other, and having a locker room where guys want to be with each other (and) be around each other. That was always a really good locker room.
“(But) I still think they’re going to struggle at times because of their lack of depth and lack of talent at the linebacker position, especially outside,” Feely continued. “When you lose a guy like Daryl Washington – who I think (is) one of the best linebackers in the NFL (and) who can go sideline-to-sideline like very few linebackers in the NFL (can) – (it’s tough). They don’t have the speed to replace that. Teams haven’t taken advantage of that yet, (and) they’ve found ways to win games.”
Washington, 27, has been suspended for the entire 2014 season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Nevertheless, Arizona is one of just three remaining unbeaten teams in the NFL, this after beating San Francisco, 23-14, this past Sunday.
Speaking of the 49ers, what gives? This team has advanced to three consecutive NFC Championship games but looked awful in the preseason, has started 1-2 and has scored just three second-half points all year. Is it time to start worrying?
“They’ve been a physical team for a number of years, and that’s how they’ve won,” Feely said. “They ran the ball well and they play great defense. They’re another team that’s lost a lot of players to injury, specifically on that defense. But I still think they’re a very good team. I still think they’re going to compete for that division. Seattle is so tough and so strong, (but) I think you’re going to see Arizona come back to the pack and they’ll lose some games. But I see San Francisco continuing to compete. I don’t think they’re going to collapse. I don’t think they’re going to be a team that isn’t in the hunt throughout the year. They’re going to be right there.
“Jim Harbaugh does such a good job of keeping that team focused,” Feely continued. “That’s another coach that built the team into his image. You talk about Bruce Arians and what he did in Arizona. Jim Harbaugh, when he took over in San Francisco, they had not had a winning team in a number of years and he molded and sculpted that team into the physical team that he wanted. Because they’re physical, because they run the ball well, and because they got a quarterback (who’s mobile), they’re going to be able to compete throughout the year and they’re going to be right there with everyone else.”