The injury bug has bitten the Arizona Cardinals hard this season.
In their last game against the Green Bay Packers, the Cardinals lost outside linebacker O’Brien Schofield for the season with an ankle injury.
Schofield’s absence will give back-up linebackers like Quentin Groves the opportunity to prove they are starter material.
“I think he has done a good job in what we have asked him to do and he contributed in a big area on special teams, which is what you have to do at that role,” head coach Ken Whisenhunt said of Groves’s play.
Groves, who was drafted in second round by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2008, is expected to get the majority of the playing time at Schofield’s spot on Sunday.
“This week will be a little bit bigger for him because he will get more snaps and we will get a chance to see how he has adapted,” Whisenhunt said. “To come in and learn this defense and play outside linebacker, that is what you work hard in the offseason to try to find guys who can do that, and he has done a good job of that so far.”
Fourth year linebacker Jamaal Westerman and rookie Zack Nash might also see a jump in playing time with Schofield out.
“In this league you have to go in and play and you have to be successful with maybe not getting all the reps,” Whisnehunt said. “When you are not the starter, that is what your job is. Hopefully those guys can do it.
“If you can do it in those situations, that’s the guys that are going to get jobs, keep jobs and become better players. You work hard in the offseason to put players in position to do that and at some point you got to put them in there. You got to fish or cut bait.”