After waiving injured linebacker Jeremy Cash, the Cardinals signed linebacker Gerald Hodges on Monday. It was a necessary move for a team that is juggling multiple injuries at the position.
In losing Cash, coach Steve Wilks lamented the loss of his knowledge, specifically. Cash played under Wilks with the Panthers the past two seasons, allowing him to help his Cardinals teammates with the new defense. In Saturday’s preseason opener, Cash returned a fumble for a touchdown in the third quarter, before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.
“Number one, just he understands the defense,” Wilks said, on what Cash brought to the team. “He understands the philosophy and vision when we had him in here, because he was a part of it before. And he was having a pretty good game, had a pretty good camp, so, disappointing for him, but again it’s an opportunity for other guys to step up and play.”
Other players will certainly need to step up as the Cardinals’ problems at linebacker stem deeper. Of the nine linebackers on the roster, Deone Bucannon, Airius Moore and Josh Bynes are all nursing injuries. Bucannon and Bynes are both listed as starters. Edmond Robinson also did not practice Monday.
“It’s always a concern with injuries and those kinds of things, so we want to continue to make sure that we have proper depth and guys are improving and getting better,” Wilks said.
The loss of Cash comes shortly after center A.Q. Shipley also tore his ACL. While Wilks may feel on high alert for injuries, he doesn’t anticipate doing anything too differently at practice.
“If we were talking about hamstrings, soft tissue, those types of things, then we would have to look at what we’re doing – at practice, how we’re conditioning, rehab,” Wilks said. “But when you start talking about ACLs and those things … it’s just a freak accident right there.”
Munyer learning, moving on
Backup center Daniel Munyer may not be used to a crowd around his locker, but on Monday, he seemed to sense what was coming.
Munyer said he had five or six bad snaps in Saturday’s preseason game, before he felt he was able to refocus. The second-string offensive line lacked cohesion, with Chargers players breaking through to the quarterback multiple times.
Playing at center, Munyer knew he would be fielding questions. It helped that he had already addressed some issues with his teammates.
“It was when Josh (Rosen) was in at a quarterback, and I just told him, ‘Man, I’m sorry, I didn’t even know I was doing that until it was too late,’ ” Munyer said. “It definitely killed some momentum with the timing of the throws and everything like that, and I’m aware of that. But as a player, you’ve got to bounce back, and it’s all about what you do after that.”
Rosen was asked about the low snaps immediately after Saturday’s game, but he brushed off the idea that it really affected his timing.
“Not that much,” he said. “A lot of stuff happens in football and I think what makes you a good quarterback is the resolve to not let little things phase you like that, and it was no big deal.”
For Wilks, it was a coachable moment in two ways.
“I think you’ve got to address it individually with that particular player, so he understands exactly what you expect and how to make those corrections,” Wilks said Monday. “And then I think you have to show the big picture to the team, and understand how that throws off the timing and affects the play as a whole.”
Munyer took the corrections in stride, and by Monday, he was just ready to get back on the field.
“Yeah, everyone saw it wasn’t my best performance by any means,” he said. “Me personally, I gotta do what these coaches and this organization know I can do. That’s why I’m here.”
Rosen to get more reps with starters
Any issues with the offensive line aside, Wilks recognizes that Rosen will benefit from more reps with the starters. He’ll get those against New Orleans.
“We’re looking to do that,” Wilks said. “We’ll give him an opportunity to get in there with the 1s and get into a rhythm and really get a timing down with those guys.”
Still, Wilks won’t shake things up too much. Bradford will still get the start and increased reps, as well. Wilks hasn’t indicated exactly how long he’ll keep Bradford in, but both quarterbacks can expect more time playing alongside other starters.
“It’s gonna be the same,” he said. “The 1s will increase their play, and just like last week there will be selected players that may not reach that max, but they’re gonna play a little longer this week.”