TEMPE, Ariz. – The year was 2006, his senior year at Denver City High School in Texas.
That’s the last time Brittan Golden said he played any kind of defense.
Since then — four years at West Texas A&M and four NFL seasons — Golden has lined up exclusively as a wide receiver and played on special teams, the latter of which he’s excelled at thus keeping him in the league.
No defense, however. Well, until now.
This week the Arizona Cardinals moved Golden, temporarily, to cornerback due to the injury to starter Jerraud Powers.
Golden’s first day was Wednesday.
“The biggest thing will be technique; just going back to the basics,” he said. “Being able to play on the opposite side of the ball; you have your eyes, your feet, it’s a completely different forte than playing on the offensive side of the ball.”
Different, sure, but the Cardinals believe Golden is both athletic and smart enough to make the switch. And remember, he does have experience, albeit nearly a decade ago.
“He’s done a little of it in the past and he’s a good football player,” head coach Bruce Arians said. “The one thing is he’s a gunner and a vice (on special teams), so he plays bump and run all the time against all these really fast guys. It’s really good carryover for what we do defensively when he plays gunner, and he’s one of our best guys. It should be an easy transition.”
Not likely, but in a pinch, for a snap, maybe even a series or two until Powers, who did not practice again on Thursday, is healthy, Golden is confident he can get the job done.
“I was a little surprised at first (when approached by Arians after the game Sunday), but it’s another opportunity,” he said. “I’m just going to take it in stride and run with it.”
So, is Golden a full-fledged member of the Cardinals ‘No Fly Zone’?
“He’s doing really well; asking a lot of questions,” safety Rashad Johnson said. “When the time is called for him to come I only expect Brittan to go out and play well, that’s all he’s done his career is fight. I’m excited for him to have an opportunity, and we welcome him with open arms.”
Added defensive coordinator James Bettcher, “Excited to have him over on our side of the ball. He fits in well with the guys. You see all the things he’s done on special teams; the tackles he’s made. He’s fitting right in.”
Again, Golden’s stay on defense is not expected to last long.
Once Powers is ready to go, Golden will slide back to offense, according to Arians. Plus, the Cardinals recently signed four-year pro Corey White for additional depth in the secondary.
White had previously been in Dallas, playing in seven games including one start before his release last month.
Obviously, Golden would prefer to play offense — he has four career catches but none since 2013 — but the team needs him on defense, so defense is where he’ll play until otherwise told.
That’s how he has always managed his career.
“It doesn’t even matter to me. As long as I have a job, I’m happy,” he said. “It’s a blessing just to have the faith and trust of the coaches like that to make a huge move like that. I’ve just got to keep working.”
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