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Arians: Vets have to step up amid injuries

The SportsXchange

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Arizona Cardinals will have two new starters at outside linebacker on Sunday in Tampa Bay. And their backups weren't even on the roster a week ago.

Such is the state of the team's defense after a disastrous loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

The actual loss wasn't devastating because no one expected the Cardinals to win in New Orleans.

But injuries took a huge toll. Strong outside linebacker Sam Acho suffered a fractured left fibula. Weak outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander suffered a Lisfranc injury to his right foot.

Both were placed on injured reserve on Monday.

Backup Alex Okafor joined them on Tuesday, when he opted for surgery rather than trying to play with a torn left biceps tendon.

Those three were the only true outside linebackers on the roster.

Matt Shaughnessy, who takes over the strong side, and John Abraham, who is going to play the weak, have lots of experience. But until this year, that experience was at defensive end.

Dontay Moch, promoted from the practice squad on Monday, and Vic So'oto, signed on Tuesday, are the primary backups.

"You've got to be able to adjust in this league," coach Bruce Arians said. "It's going to throw you curve balls all the time. You got to be able to hit the curve ball."

The Cardinals (1-2) won't have excuses for losing this week. The Bucs are 0-3 and starting a rookie quarterback, Mike Glennon.

Arians has talked often about "stealing" games on the road.

"This is a time veteran leadership stands up," Arians said. "Really good teams, veterans never allow them to lose two games in a row. We've talked about that with the veterans."
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