Budda Baker glad players can ‘talk freely,’ which is an interesting observation

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker addressed the media after Monday’s practice of voluntary OTAs and covered a lot of topics, ranging from his personal season in 2023, being in the building this year for the voluntary part of the offseason program and even his desire to remain with the Cardinals beyond this, the final year of his contract.

However, one comment stood out, and it was about being able to speak up in the locker room.

“To not have certain guys with a certain ego to where you can’t communicate a certain way is definitely something you have to watch,” he said.  “Nowadays, you can talk freely, guys give you the respect to talk to them and you have to give them the respect to talk to you as well. It’s different.”

You have to wonder when it wasn’t okay to speak freely. Was it last season with this current coaching staff? Or perhaps he wasn’t sure because he wasn’t in the building last year for the voluntary part of the offseason.

Were there players last year who discouraged comments, questions and crtitcisms?

Was he referring to players on the team prior to 2023 or was it the previous coaching staff of head coach Kliff Kingsbury and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph?

If it was Joseph, it is an interesting observation because Baker himself had his greatest on-field success with his performance under Joseph. He was a Pro Bowler all four years Joseph coached him and a first-team All-Pro once, the only time he has been in his career. All seven of his career interceptions came in Joseph’s scheme. Three of his four 100-tackle seasons came in that defense.

Or was it all just an observation about how all players, veterans down to rookies are more comfortable giving defensive coordinator Nick Rallis feedback about their roles?

Whatever the reason for Baker’s comment, it does create an environment where players have more of a feeling of ownership with what they are asked to do and perhaps a greater understanding.

In the second year in this defensive system, hopefully this increased freedom of communication leads to greater on-field performance from everyone.

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Story originally appeared on Cards Wire