Cardinals notebook: Wilks trying to find ‘right mix’ at LB; new WR arrives

Oct 8, 2018, 7:18 PM

San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida (22) runs toward the end zone to score on a touchdown ...

San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida (22) runs toward the end zone to score on a touchdown reception against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

(AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

The Arizona Cardinals have spent two first-round picks in the last five drafts on linebackers: Deone Bucannon in 2014 and Haason Reddick in 2017.

Despite that fact, there is still reasonable uncertainty about those two, and Josh Bynes has been the most consistent of the group through five games.

That reflects in the playing time, where Wilks has shuffled Bucannon and Reddick.

Bucannon played 73 percent of the defensive snaps in Week 4 against the Los Angeles Rams while Reddick landed at only 14 percent. Fast forward to the Week 5 win over the San Francisco 49ers and Reddick played every snap to the detriment of Bucannon, who only played four total.

Bynes, on the other hand, hasn’t missed a defensive snap in three weeks.

“I’m trying to find the right chemistry, right mix,” Wilks said Monday. “The guy that’s gonna get out there and execute on a consistent basis — that’s the biggest thing for me.”

If one of Bucannon or Reddick is trending higher at the moment when looking beyond snap count numbers, it’s Reddick.

On Sunday, the second-year linebacker had a strip-sack late in the fourth quarter that Bynes recovered for a touchdown and a two-score Cardinals lead.

That specific play is something Arizona works on every week.

“It’s great to see some of the things we’re teaching carry over to the game,” Wilks said.

Reddick, though, won’t be favored because of only one play.

“It’s not really having one good game, a few good plays here — we need guys that’s going to be consistent and I’m gonna continue to have guys out there competing and rotating until we get the right mix,” Wilks said.


The Cardinals welcomed a new member of the team on Monday, signing wide receiver Kendall Wright.

Wright, 28, played for the Chicago Bears last year and recorded 614 receiving yards on 59 catches, with one touchdown. He spent the preseason with the Minnesota Vikings but was cut before the start of the season.

The veteran pass-catcher has been keeping busy. Wright has been working out at a gym twice a day and whenever former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Landry Jones was available, Wright would catch passes from him to stay loose.

“I’m really hungry,” Wright said Monday. “Just ready to go out there and play football.”

During that off-time, Wright found it more difficult to keep up.

“It was hard even just watching football on Sunday,” he said.

By default, though, Wright has kept up with the Vikings, Arizona’s opponent this Sunday.

“I spent a whole training camp with them, I know what those guys like to do,” he said.

He’s also seen bits of Cardinals rookie quarterback Josh Rosen and is a fan.

“I think he’s a monster,” Wright said.

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