Catching Up With: Kerry Rhodes

On Saturday, former Cardinal and Super Bowl XXXIX MVP Deion Branch attended Louisville's win at Cincinnati. This week it's current New York Jets rookie Kerry Rhodes that spent time visiting with his former team. Inside The Ville visited with Rhodes on Thursday and asked his thoughts on the U of L secondary, his first year in the league and more.

As Louisville entered the 2005 season searching for replacements for the multiple spots left vacant by Cardinals headed into the NFL, questions arose if Bobby Petrino's third team had the depth and experience to overcome the loss of so many starters from the program's 11-1 campaign of a year ago.

It didn't take long - two or three quarters into the Kentucky game - to realize that while U of L could reload at most positions, the lack of experience in the Cardinals secondary became apparent.

On Thursday afternoon, Kerry Rhodes, who led the Cardinals with six interceptions from his strong safety position last year, watched the team as they conducted their short 1-hour practice inside Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

With the New York Jets enjoying a bye week, the NFL rookie chose to spend his time in the River City visiting with the team.

"I want to come back and help whenever I can," Rhodes told Inside The Ville. "I want to try to get back to help out because I learned so much while I was here. Hopefully I can help them out a little."

While Rhodes admitted that the transition from last year's experienced secondary has been difficult, he said that he is impressed by the talent found in the Cardinals secondary.

"I've only been able to see them play twice, but even though they are young they have been improving," he said. "There is a lot of talent on the team as a whole and they just need someone to step up and take control of the team."

The slew of youth, which includes freshmen Lamar Alston, Darius Mann, and Richard Raglin, coupled with what is expected to be another strong haul in recruiting, Rhodes believes that the best is still to come for the unit.

"They just need to play with confidence and not be afraid to play the ball," he said. "The young guys are going to be good. They will be good for the upcoming years."

Rhodes will return to action on November 6 when San Diego and LaDainian Tomlinson visit The Meadowlands.

"He's a monster," Rhodes of Tomlinson. "They do a lot of play action and he's tough to bring down."

While the Jets are not enjoying the season that most expected prior to the season, Rhodes has remained focused on improving his play as the starting strong safety.

"The season isn't going as good for the team as we had hoped, but personally I'm just trying to get better everyday," said Rhodes of his rookie season in the NFL. "As a rookie starting it has been a challenge every game, but it helps me improve."

Through seven games, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Rhodes has recorded 43 tackles - fourth on the team - and an interception in week seven against former Marshall quarterback Byrom Leftwich.

"He tore us up in college, so that one felt pretty good," Rhodes said of his first career interception.


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