While the Thompsons are competing for playing time, there is no animosity between them. In fact, the pair has grown close since Jalen joined the team.
“We talk every day,” Deionte said. “We laugh. We joke around. I found out (Tuesday) we actually stay like five minutes down the street from each other. So that’s cool. It’s a distance, but it takes like five minutes. He stays closer to the mall, so when I’m out there I’ll go to his house so I can (walk) to the mall.”
The coaching staff has tried to avoid confusion by calling the pair D.T. and J.T., but that doesn’t always help Deionte.
“My brother’s name is Jalen Thompson, spelled the exact same,” Deionte said. “My mom would be at home and she would say, ‘J.T.’ I would always think we were both in trouble, so I got in a habit of looking around when they say his name, too.”
Jalen admits the release of Swearinger caught him by surprise, but the feeling quickly turned to optimism. A week ago, there was no clear path to significant playing time behind a pair of established safeties. Now both Thompsons could see meaningful action.
“Me and D.T. are ready to make plays,” Jalen said.
Joseph said he’s “just hoping for solid play” out of the rookies, and as the last line of defense on some plays, Deionte knows it’s important to keep mistakes to a minimum.
“If you’re wrong on one step, they’re going to make you pay for it,” Deionte said.
The safety duo of Swearinger and Baker was supposed to help mitigate the absence of starting cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford early in the year, but Swearinger’s struggles hurt.
As a result, the Cardinals have gone young, hoping the Thompsons can grow up fast against Cincinnati and beyond.
“It shouldn’t be any dropoff,” Deionte said. “We have to keep the standard of the defense the same, no matter who he puts out there. That’s what we intend on doing.”