Cardinals LB coach Larry Foote ‘excited’ to coach under Wilks
The Arizona Cardinals offseason has been a whirlwind of uncertainty and excitement, with a new coaching staff taking over for the first time in five years.
Former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks was hired as head coach following the retirement of Bruce Arians. Since the January hire, Wilks’ coaching staff has taken shape, including five former assistants from Arians’ staff.
Linebackers coach Larry Foote was among those that were retained.
“I was told that management was fighting for me and I was excited that (Wilks) hired me,” Foote said on Wednesday.
“It tells you that they appreciate the work that I have done.”
Foote arrived in Arizona as a player prior to the 2014 season, recording 105 tackles and an interception in 15 games at linebacker.
The following year, Foote joined the coaching staff as the linebackers coach, where he has remained for three seasons.
The 37-year-old’s coaching career has been highlighted by the transition of Deone Bucannon from a safety in college to linebacker in the NFL.
Bucannon recorded 82 tackles along with two forced fumbles and an interception last season despite missing the first three games after undergoing surgery on his ankle in May.
Foote said the surgery “drained” Bucannon, but acknowledged his growth as a vocal leader last season. Now, Foote is ramping up his expecatations for the 25-year-old linebacker.
“You want to show this league who you are and I am expecting his best season,” Foote said. “Just keep coming to work.”
Along with Bucannon, Foote retains a talented group of linebackers for the 2018. Led by Pro Bowl linebacker Chandler Jones, the Cardinals will have Markus Golden back from injury and will look for Haason Reddick to find his niche during his second year.
“He worried about not making a mistake too much,” Foote said of Reddick. “Which is a good thing because he cares. Now it’s time to comfortably get with the defense and just play.”
The Cardinals’ defense led the team last season after numerous injuries plagued the offense, keeping them in games on the way to an 8-8 record.
Despite having to learn a new defensive scheme under Wilks and defensive coordinator Al Holcomb, Foote believes the Cardinals’ players will be eager to prove their talent to the new coaching staff.
“The good thing about having a new coaching staff is it brings excitement and new faces,” he said. “I don’t care what year you are in the league you want to prove it. You want to prove to your coach what kind of player you are.”