As of the latest 2013 Pro Bowl returns, Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Daryl Washington sits just on the outside look in, as the San Francisco 49ers linebacking duo of Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman
lead in fan voting.
While the Cardinals’ eight-game losing streak has likely detracted national attention away from the team’s star linebacker, head coach Ken Whisenhunt wasn’t afraid to do his own grandstanding for Washington this week.
“I think so,” Whisenhunt said when asked if Washington should be headed to Hawaii at season’s end. “I don’t think there’s any question about that. I think about how lucky we were to get his contract extended with the way he’s played.”
With one sack over his final four games, Washington would become the first player in franchise history to record 10 sacks and 100 tackles in a single season. Washington would become just the fourth inside linebacker since 1985 to achieve the feat.
“Hopefully he gets that,” said Whisenhunt in reference to the rare accomplishment. “We’ve seen signs of it, him building up to it, and he’s developed into an outstanding football player. There is no question about it.”
Whisenhunt said the organization was impressed with his speed when they selected him out of TCU in the second round of the 2010 draft. However with maturity, the Cardinals coach said he’s using that speed to be a weapon all over the field.
“I think his understanding of the defense [is better],” said Whisenhunt. “He now understands his speed and it makes him tough.”
It should be noted that Whisenhunt wasn’t the only one stamping Washington’s ticket to Honolulu. In their Pro Bowl Cheat Sheet released earlier this week, ProFootballFocus.com lobbied for Washington to start alongside Willis for the NFC.
In addition to his high sack and tackle totals, Washington has one interception, one fumble recovered and two fumbles forced in 2012.
Pro Bowl voting concludes on December 17, with an announcement of the two teams set to come nine days later on December 26 at 5:00 p.m. Arizona time.