It’s hard not to start paying more attention to a quality Cardinals LB corps that appears to have picked right up where it left off last season.
While the stellar early efforts of starting ILBs Daryl Washington (double-digit tackles in each of his last four games dating back to last season) and Paris Lenon have gotten a lot more ink, daily team observers believe the depth at linebacker is making an equally positive contribution so far this season.
Holdover reserve ILBs Stewart Bradley and Reggie Walker and new reserve OLB Quentin Groves are all widely considered quite capable of being starters for a number of other NFL teams.
“I think you can say that,” said one team insider. “Walker tackles well and is a very confident player who has made a big contribution on special teams for a long time. He’s worked well with Washington in the nickel.”
As for Groves, a former second-round draft pick of the Jaguars who most recently played with the Raiders, it appears he might have finally found a home in the desert.
“After not doing much in his career, he’s looked a lot closer to the guy coming out of Auburn back in 2008," the insider said. "He’s shown some real pass-rushing ability. I could see him getting more playing time at the expense of (starting OLB O’Brien) Schofield.”
In addition to his first sack since 2008 in the Week Two upset of the Patriots, Groves blocked a punt that led to a touchdown.
Bradley, formerly a proven starter with the Eagles, continues to take a backseat to Lenon, who is showing no signs whatsoever of slowing down.
“He (Lenon) just keeps on plugging,” the insider said. “He’s really smart and seldom makes mistakes. A lot of the guys really look to him for leadership. He doesn’t say much, but when he does have something to say, you know the rest of the team is listening."