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Posts tagged with "Reddick"

While the loss of Markus Golden hurts, the Arizona Cardinals have a rookie linebacker who could quite possibly fill in nicely

Arizona Cardinals’ rookie Haason Reddick is no stranger to opposing quarterbacks. As a defensive end at Temple University in Philadelphia, the Cards’ inside linebacker recorded nine and a half sacks during his senior year. There’s a good chance that the 13th-overall pick of this season’s draft will be getting reacquainted with passers again real soon.

Last Sunday’s loss of outside linebacker Markus Golden to a torn ACL is a significant one. The third-year Cardinal was coming off of a huge 2016, when he led the squad with 12.5 sacks. Sacks that will be not easy to replace now that Golden has been placed on injured reserve.

There’s been talk this week about Reddick moving from his inside slot to the outside. The pass-rushing prowess that the Camden, New Jersey native showed during his last year in school makes one think he’ll have success. The 6’1″, 235 pounder got to signal-callers in his first three college campaigns as well, totalling eight sacks from 2013-15.

Reddick has done an admirable job at inside ‘backer through the first quarter of the current season. He has accumulated 18 tackles, showing superb tackling technique and quickness while doing so.

However, the return of starter Deone Bucannon from injury will obviously cut into the first-year player’s snaps. The other starter in the middle, Karlos Dansby, will most likely remain in his current role. The 35-year old is playing like he’s 25, having tallied 26 tackles through four contests.

These factors make Reddick sliding over into Golden’s spot even more logical. If he is moved, the presence of a great sack artist like Chandler Jones on the opposite side will make his transition smoother. The attention Jones garners should help Riddick put up sack stats in the same way Golden was able to.

Arizona defensive coordinator James Bettcher does have another option. Kareem Martin had an excellent preseason. The fourth-year Cardinal has been biding his time for an opportunity like this, and may also be given a chance to shine.

Golden’s replacement will be revealed on Sunday when the Cards meet the Philadelphia Eagles. Whoever can supply the most pressure from the edge will be on the field. Reddick the rookie has a solid shot of being that guy.

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Notes: Handful of Cardinals return home to Philly; Watford can step in if Boone not ready

Rookie linebacker Haason Reddick will try to get after the quarterback as an outside linebacker after Markus Golden‘s injury.
Yes, James Bettcher knows rookie Haason Reddick is smaller for a typical outside linebacker, weighing about 235 pounds.But the Cardinals defensive coordinator still has confidence Reddick will be fine in that regard. To that end, he talked Thursday about former Colts Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Mathis, whom Bettcher once coached when he was in Indianapolis.

“Robert Mathis, I had him on the scale one time,” Bettcher said. “He was like 212 pounds. He’d probably

wrestle with me if I told somebody that, but that’s what he really was – 212 on the scale. But no one could block him, and he could power and bull anyone.“(Size) doesn’t matter. When you have speed and you have power, you can rush on the edge. Learning how to use the speed and how to use the power will be the next thing for (Reddick.)”

No one is comparing Reddick to Mathis at this point. Reddick was just learning how to play inside linebacker when Markus Golden’s season-ending knee injury changed the plans. Now, Reddick will split time with Kareem Martin as Golden’s replacements.

[READ: THE (LOSS OF) MARKUS GOLDEN EFFECT]

Bettcher said Reddick’s role on the outside will be similar to what they did with him as an inside linebacker – certain packages at first, with an increasing role as time goes on. As for using him inside as well, Bettcher only said “there will be packages where you will see him doing different things.”

That’s fine with Reddick, who has maintained all week he is prepared for whatever happens.

“I was asked to help out there, which I am willing to do,” Reddick said. “How much I’m expected to play or how often I’m there, that I don’t know.”

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The Cardinals clearly planned to bring Haason Reddick along slowly in his NFL debut on Sunday, rotating their first-round pick with Josh Bynes at inside linebacker.

It didn’t take long for Reddick to prove he was ready for the grand stage. The talented youngster avoided the mental errors that plagued him in the preseason and consistently showed well against the run and in coverage.

Reddick totaled 10 tackles in the game, including two for loss. He was given an 82.6 grade by Pro Football Focus, the highest on the team.

“He was outstanding,” coach Bruce Arians said. “He’s one of those young guys that played extremely well. He got the one penalty with hands to the face, but he was going full speed. He’s fast and he’s going to be a heck of a player.”

Three plays stood out to me: the throw in the flat to Theo Riddick which Reddick stuffed for a one-yard loss on third-and-1; a tackle of Ameer Abdullah on a stretch play; and the blitz off the edge when he just missed Matthew Stafford for a sack.

Reddick had two quarterback pressures on his five pass-rushes, per PFF, and didn’t miss a tackle in his six attempts. The athletic explosion is apparent, and it will be interesting to see how Reddick is deployed moving forward since versatility is one of his big strengths.

In a game where a lot of things went wrong, Reddick was a bright spot.

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The news Deone Bucannon won’t play Sunday — not a huge shock, even without the setback of an ankle sprain — puts on hold what the Cardinals will do with rookie Haason Reddick when Bucannon, Reddick and Karlos Dansby are all available. Reddick will be needed to play in Bucannon’s role, at least in certain packages.

But it also goes to that concern lingering as soon as the Cards cut to 53 and, at least outwardly, the team only kept three outside linebackers. What about depth? What about a fourth behind Markus Golden, Chandler Jones and Kareem Martin? Coach Bruce Arians mentioned that veteran Philip Wheeler, signed as an inside linebacker, worked in practice recently on the outside and can play both spots. Defensive lineman Josh Mauro has occasionally taken reps at OLB and could serve there in a pinch, especially on running downs. But then there is Reddick.

Reddick, who played defensive end in college, slowly has gotten some reps as an outside ‘backer to build on his work on the inside. And once Bucannon is back, Reddick makes the most sense as a dual-threat guy, someone who can play on the inside in certain packages, who can rush the passer in certain packages, and who can also serve as that fourth guy behind Golden, Jones and Martin.

Again, versatility has been one of the hallmarks of the players GM Steve Keim has sought, especially on the defense. The linemen can play anywhere. The linebackers, mostly, can switch around. The defensive backs are interchangeable. That is how the Cards will solve that fourth OLB issue.

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