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Dealing Cards: Reddick returns home, plus one way to jump-start the offense

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Haason Reddick (43) tackles Detroit Lions running back Ameer Abdullah (21) during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Please, no Cheez Whiz!

“Cheez Whiz is a tourist attraction,” Arizona Cardinals rookie linebacker Haason Reddick said. “Anybody that’s really from Philly, from the area, I’ve never seen them put Cheez Whiz on their cheesesteak, I think that’s a little bizarre.”

Reddick prefers mayonnaise, ketchup and American cheese, and no onions thank you, on his cheesesteaks, which he can’t wait to get his hands on this weekend.

The Cardinals play at Philadelphia on Sunday, and with the team leaving Friday afternoon, Reddick hopes to be able to stop by Max’s Steaks on Germanton Avenue for a cheesesteak, or two.

“Probably the best cheesesteak I ever had,” he said this week. “I’m definitely going to try to get the guys to go down there. I’ve been telling them, I’ve been bragging about it; been telling them what’s the right way (to eat a cheesesteak).”

Though not technically a Philadelphia native, Reddick grew up five miles away in Camden, NJ, and played his college ball at Temple, spending his Saturday afternoons at Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Eagles.

Reddick grew up an Eagles fan. He liked running back Duce Staley. But when Staley signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Reddick’s allegiance to the Eagles stopped.

“I’m happy to be going back. I haven’t been home in about, what, two or three months now? So, I’m just happy to go back there and get around the fans that I played in front of for four or five years and get to see my family,” he said.

And of course being back home means Reddick must now try to accommodate all his family and friends with tickets to the game.

“I’m expecting a lot. Almost the whole city,” he said. “I grabbed a couple of tickets, I know my dad grabbed a handful and then I have a lot of people who are buying their own. I’m definitely expecting a nice crowd.”

That’s good, so Reddick will have at least some crowd support.

“The Philadelphia crowd, fans, they’re crazy, man. You never know what you’re going to get,” he said. “I’ve seen them boo their own team; I’ve seen them applaud for the team so I don’t know how they’re going to feel about me. I might make a play—I don’t know if I’m going to get applause or if they’re going to boo me. We’ll see come Sunday.”

Seeing more Deone Bucannon

In his first game back from offseason ankle surgery, dollar linebacker Deone Bucannon started and played 42 of the 84 defensive snaps against San Francisco. That’s half, and that was by design, according to Bucannon, who said his playing time was limited.

Bucannon should be on the field more this week. For one, he had a good week of practice, according to his coach.

“You see him start to knock that rust off and recognize quicker and adjust,” head coach Bruce Arians said. Two weeks, however, is needed.

With Reddick expected to play more on the outside in the aftermath of the injury to Markus Golden that leaves the inside, next to Karlos Dansby, open for Bucannon and perhaps Josh Bynes, who did not have a defensive snap last week.

Inside linebacker, of course, is where Bucannon has excelled, leading the Cardinals in tackles in each of the past two seasons.

“As far as reps go, I’m out there as much as—until they tell me to come out, so I’m not really worried about it,” he said. “I don’t manage reps, I’m not thinking about reps but I want to be out there every play that I can, that’s just being a football player.”

Trying to jump-start the offense

Thinking about it and doing it are two very different activities. And while Arians said earlier in the week, “it’s something we have to talk about,” the Cardinals don’t appear too eager to turn to a no-huddle strategy in an effort to help jump-start the offense.

Through four games, the Cardinals have scored just one offensive first-quarter touchdown. And against the 49ers, it wasn’t until overtime, when they needed a touchdown to win, that the offense looked to be in rhythm; and they went with their no-huddle, or two-minute, offense.

“It puts, I think, a good stress on the defense,” quarterback Carson Palmer said. “Defensive linemen get tired, the pass rush slows down a little bit, makes it a little more difficult to get to some of the packages where you get some crazy fire-zones or some different looking coverages just because they’re kind of typically go to base-calls.”

So, would it then make sense to go no-huddle more often during the course of a game?

“Yeah, and I’ve seen it go 3-and-out a bunch, too,” Palmer said. “It’s kind of one of those things, the grass is always greener. It’s easy to say, ‘Well, let’s go to this.’ But, sometimes it can struggle and you’re just in the wrong play at the wrong time and before you know it, it’s 3rd-and-10, so it can go both ways.”

Added offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin, “Moving the ball is not the problem. It’s when the protection breaks down, we have a problem or we’re not running the ball in the red zone it’s a problem. Going from the 20 to the 20, we do that easily. It’s about finishing everything we do. One of the big things I put up on the screen yesterday in front of the team was just finishing. We got to do a better job of finishing.”

Final injury report

Considering neither practiced this week, it was not a surprise when Arians announced left tackle D.J. Humphries and defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche would not play this week. The two continue to be bothered by knee and calf injuries, respectively.

Guard Alex Boone (chest) was once again limited at practiced on Friday and is considered questionable to play.

“Should be close. Could be close (to playing),” Arians said.

If Boone is unable to go, then Earl Watford, just signed this week, would likely get the start, making him the fourth different left guard to start this season.

Wide receivers John Brown (quadriceps) and J.J. Nelson (hamstring) are also listed as questionable, though both are expected to play.

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