Larry Foote has played all but one of his 12 previous NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, so he knows what it’s like to be a part of some tough-nosed defensive units.
However, the old dog is learning some new tricks in training camp now as a member of the Arizona Cardinals, with whom he signed a one-year deal in May.
The 34-year-old linebacker was very candid, yet optimistic, Tuesday when talking about what it’s like to play under defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
“(It’s) in your face. Very blunt. They expect good plays, every play,” Foote said. “You could have 10 good plays, but if you have one bad one, (Bowles is) going to remind you about it for two days. (It’s a) very aggressive style — a defense I’m used to. And I’m excited. As a linebacker, you should be geeked up to play in this style of defense.”
Foote added that the Cardinals defense built a strong reputation throughout the league last year and that he’s looking forward to helping continue the unit’s success in 2014.
With Karlos Dansby signing with Cleveland and Daryl Washington being suspended for the year, Foote and second-year pro Kevin Minter will be relied on to pick up the slack at the inside linebacker positions. Both are currently penciled in as the starters on the team’s depth chart.
The 13-year veteran was asked Tuesday if the 23-year-old Minter — who only played one snap on defense last season — is up to the task of playing a bigger role, including if he seems comfortable among his more experienced defensive colleagues.
“He had a good feel for the package,” Foote said about his first impression of Minter when they first took the field together. “He was showing me the ropes early on in mini-camps, and he got control of the huddle.
“First thing you judge young linebackers: Are you smart or are you dumb? Ain’t no in between. He’s a smart one; he knows where guys are at. (There’s) still a little stuff he’s going to learn through experience, but I’m confident in him.”
The former Michigan Wolverine added that he, too, has something to prove in his first campaign with the Cardinals. Foote is two years removed from a season that saw him post 113 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles for the Steelers, but he played in just one game in 2013 due to a torn biceps.
“I know I can hold my own,” he said. “I’ve been playing in this league for a long time. I’m excited. Me and Kevin are going to answer the bell.”