Kevin Minter is ready ‘to take another step forward’
The road for the Arizona Cardinals at inside linebacker in the absence of former Pro Bowler Daryl Washington has had its ups and downs.
Kevin Minter was drafted in the second round by Arizona in 2013, and after temporary solutions like Karlos Dansby in 2013 and Larry Foote in 2014 helped, Minter was a possible long-term answer after Washington was suspended in 2014.
Coming off his first full season of starting at the position, the 25-year-old feels good about the way he played.
“As far as being my first time being that middle linebacker for this team, I feel like I did alright,” Minter said on Bickley & Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
The LSU product was second on the team in tackles with 110 with 13 for loss.
“I kind of established myself a bit this past season,” Minter said.
While it was a solid start, Minter and Cardinals fans alike know he can bring more.
“Going into this season I need to take another step forward,” Minter said. “I still feel like I haven’t really met my expectations yet.”
Minter was not shy about the expectations for the team either, after losing in the NFC Championship. The fourth-year inside linebacker said the team “laid an egg in Carolina” and the team was “complacent.”
“Our whole motto now is finish. It definitely holds true this year. We were a game away from being in the big one.”
That determination for the team is something Minter has seen in OTA’s, calling the team “crisp” and said they’ve “been hitting on all cylinders.”
As a run-stopper and playing a more traditional position — unlike linebacker and safety hybrid Deone Bucannon — winning those hard-hitting battles inside the tackles is what Minter does for his team.
He still has a role in defending the passing game, however, and the linebacker is aware of that and has trimmed down to help defend more of that style.
“I still wanted my power, because that was my game. I’m a downhill guy, but at the same time, I need to be able to move in space. This is a passing league now,” Minter said.