The majority of the offseason has seen the Arizona Cardinals look to improve what was very good defense last season.
They signed cornerback Antonio Cromartie and re-signed defensive lineman Matt Shaughnessy while also drafting safety Deone Bucannon, defensive end Kareem Martin and defensive tackle Ed Stinson.
While that’s all nice, the elephant in the room, so to speak, is the departure of inside linebacker Karlos Dansby to the Cleveland Browns.
Arguably the team’s defensive MVP last season, the Cardinals are going to have to find a way to replace his 122 total tackles, 6.5 sacks and four interceptions.
Conventional wisdom would say that responsibility will likely fall on Kevin Minter, a second-round pick out of LSU last year who was expected to see plenty of time as a rookie but was forced to play only on special teams due to Dansby’s career season.
“I don’t think you do it at the position; you do it by making everyone do their jobs,” Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles told Bickley and Marotta Tuesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “That doesn’t fall solely on Kevin Minter, playing the mike linebacker, it falls on the corners covering better, the d-line playing better and everyone doing their job.”
The way Bowles sees it, you can’t expect someone to come in and replace Dansby’s production.
“You may replace the player and do different things with the player you have and you replace it that way,” he said. “But I think everybody’s making a mistake and putting it all on the middle linebacker when it has to come from everywhere else.”