Updated Jun 3, 2014 - 2:15 pm
How do the Cardinals replace their most irreplaceable player?
We've also read why now is clearly not the time to do so.
We all understand that "Next Man Up" is, A) the new sports cliché (mercifully replacing "It is what it is") and B) certainly applies in this circumstance.
The fundamental problem here is that the Cardinals must now replace their most irreplaceable player.
Quick, name a player more valuable than Washington. Patrick Peterson? Calais Campbell? Larry Fitzgerald? Carson Palmer? If I were making a Guys-I-Can't-Lose list, Daryl Washington would be at the top.
It's not meant as a slight to anyone else on the field. Football teams fail and succeed because of the collective effort, not the individual. Players work in concert with each other to make plays and win games.
Yet I'm not certain there is another player on this roster whose absence affects that roster more than Washington. Speed. Instincts. Versatility. You just don't have anything close in terms of an in-house or out-house solution to replicate that.
ESPN Stats and Info points out that Washington is the only player in the NFL with 300 tackles and 15 sacks over the last three seasons.
To compensate, the Cardinals might have to undergo a minor reinvention.
The key to winning football games in Washington's absence won't fall on the recently-signed Ernie Sims. Or Larry Foote or Kevin Minter. It will fall on Palmer and Fitz. Michael Floyd and Andre Ellington. Palmer was quick to point out that the Cardinals' defense carried this team last year and now it was time for a little quid pro quo.
The defense still has plenty of impact football players. But without the guy in the middle (literally and figuratively), the very identity of this team has to change.
Dave Burns, Co-host of Burns & Gambo
- Burns: Replacing most irreplaceable player
- Cardinals forced to march on without Washington
- Wolf: Next Man Up
- Cards will place Washington on reserve-susp. list
- The Pulse: Washington 'deserved' suspension
- Marotta: Wouldn't want to be Keim right now
- Gambo: Cardinals need to cut Washington now
- Analyst: Washington 'ultimate in selfishness'
- Clayton: Cardinals can still be a playoff team
- Dockett tweets about Washington suspension
- Franz: Cardinals should cut ties with Washington
- Washington suspended for entire 2014 season
- Report: Free agent LB Sims pays visit to Cards
- Daryl Washington releases statement
- Walt Powell claimed by New York Jets
- How the West Was Won - Week 1
- ESPN: Arizona Cardinals' offense will offset losses on defense, lead team to a winning record
- Cardinals awarded waiver claim on OLB Thomas Keiser, waive rookie WR Walt Powell
- Bauman, Golden, Sopoaga, Hardy among Arizona Cardinals' final roster cuts
- Darren Urban - azcardinals.com - Friday August 29Darren Urban breaks down the latest surrounding the Cardinals' impending roster moves
- Bickley Blast - Friday August 29The Arizona Cardinals and San Diego Chargers played one of the most pointless games in NFL history l
- Bickley Blast - Thursday August 28Which Valley football team will win more games this season, the Cardinals or the Sun Devils?
- Kirk Gibson, D-backs manager - Tuesday August 26D-backs manager Kirk Gibson discusses possible changes to a six-man rotation.
- Dave Pasch - Cardinals commentator - Tuesday August 26Dave Pasch thinks Michael Floyd is a number one receiving target.