Cardinals’ Kingsbury encouraged by Reddick’s progress in natural position

Oct 21, 2020, 3:05 PM
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Haason Reddick (43) celebrates sacking Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy...

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Haason Reddick (43) celebrates sacking Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton in the second half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

The Arizona Cardinals got a little too comfortable with Haason Reddick’s versatility coming out of the 2017 NFL Draft.

The 13th overall selection had three scattered seasons playing in different positions. He played primarily at inside linebacker in the past two years after being drafted out of Temple in 2017 as a pass rusher touted for his potential to move off the ball.

That move didn’t go well, and now in 2020 Reddick is back outside and playing the best football of his Cardinals career.

Reddick had two sacks in Monday’s win over the Dallas Cowboys, giving him four on the season through six games. That matches his career-high number of four in 2018, and he’s on pace to top his career total of 7.5 in three years.

“I’m really proud of Haason,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta Tuesday.

“Probably was out of position, trying to do his best … but it just wasn’t a fit and it wasn’t what he did in college.”

Reddick co-signs that notion.

“I’m just back at playing outside linebacker which is more similar to what I played in college which was D-end,” he said on Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo. “I’m just getting back to being able to do what I know how to do. I’m not out there worrying about thinking and worrying about making mistakes and worrying about something that I’ve never done before.”

The Cardinals declined the first-round pick’s fifth-year option on his rookie deal, making this a contract year for the 26-year-old. He likes the way it’s coming together.

“Here I am now and I’m just playing my natural position and everything is in line,” Reddick said. “All the pieces are falling into place and I’m just able to go out there and play in this scheme that we have and able to make an impact and play freely. Play freely without thinking and just let my talents take over.”

Kingsbury noted the year-to-year growth for his linebacker.

“I really see him with more of a comfort level with where he’s at and his athleticism showing up and he’s making plays and he’s playing tough,” the head coach said. “It’s been fun to watch from when I got here last year ’til now  — just his progression and his contributions to this team.”

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