Karlos Dansby: Ability to dissect plays will help Cardinals’ defense

Mar 13, 2017, 1:59 PM | Updated: 10:02 pm

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LISTEN: Karlos Dansby, Cardinals LB

It all happened very quickly, and really, it makes a ton of sense.

With key defensive players and leaders departing in free agency, the Cardinals last week brought Karlos Dansby back into the fold on a one-year contract.

This will mark the linebacker’s third stint with the Cardinals, having played with them from 2004 to 2009 and then again in 2013.

“I think it was the move of God that made that happen; I feel like it’s the perfect storm,” Dansby told Off the Edge with B-Train on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Monday.

The big steak he had while dining with Cardinals GM Steve Keim and defensive coordinator James Bettcher after signing probably didn’t hurt his feelings on the Cardinals, either, though opportunity and Dansby’s previous history of success in the desert also played a role in his coming back.

Being familiar with the coaches, city and many of his teammates allows Dansby to almost immediately step right without much in the way of a learning curve.

Last season, with the Cincinnati Bengals, Dansby posted a team-leading 114 tackles. In 196 career games spent with the Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns and Bengals, he has notched 1,405 tackles — 1,050 solo — with 42 sacks, 19 interceptions, 18 forced fumbles and 11 fumble recoveries.

With the Cardinals in 2013, he produced a career-high 135 tackles to go along with 6.5 sacks and four interceptions.

A veteran of 13 NFL seasons, Dansby said there is little that could happen on the field that he has not seen and experienced.

“Hopefully I can help the guys around me play faster, and they won’t be hesitating,” he said. “I’ll be calling out stuff before it even happens, and then guys just go make plays.

“That’s what I kind of hang my hat on, my ability to dissect the plays before they even happen.”

Few would question Dansby’s knowledge of the game, nor his ability to diagnose plays. That all comes with experience, and few players who were available to the Cardinals bring as much as the linebacker.

But at 35 years of age, Dansby is on the older end of the free agent spectrum and is closer to the end of his career than the beginning. That fact begs the question of just how much the former second-round pick has left in the tank.

Dansby is confident he can continue to play at a high level in part because of his lifestyle, in which he takes care of his body with proper training and diet. The Cardinals offer plenty of assistance with both aspects.

“It’s going to be hard-pressed for me not to have a lot of success,” he said. “Like, they even got my chef there — she’s the head chef.”

Dansby said all of, that along with his commitment to his craft, allows him to keep at his current pace, and he is hoping his example will rub off on some of the Cardinals’ younger players.

But in terms of what kind of player Dansby will be now, he should be a bit different from when he was last with Arizona.

“I’ve been a sponge my whole career; and I’ve just been taking little pieces from different players, different linebackers, and I just try to add it to my game,” he said. “You take Vontaze Burfict, you take a little bit from his game; take a little bit from Vinny Rey — that’s what I was doing last year, I was just taking a little bit from everybody — and just trying to add it to my game to keep up with these young guys.”

Dansby said he will do the same with Cardinals $LB Deone Bucannon, who arrived in 2014 and helped fill the void left when the veteran departed. Dansby complimented Bucannon’s speed, and called his ability to get downhill “uncanny.”

“So I’m going to grab a little bit from him and I’m going to add it to my game,” he said. “And I’ll be able to evolve and stay relevant.”

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