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The case for more speed and Daryl Washington

Posted by Darren Urban on February 26, 2015 – 9:39 am

It’s been repeated many times over the past few weeks, by both GM Steve Keim and especially coach Bruce Arians: The Cardinals are seeking more speed on defense. That was the first thing Arians mentioned at the recent Scouting combine, when he was asked what the team needed to do in rebuilding.

“We need speed at all our linebacker positions,” Arians said. “And continue to develop Kevin Minter into a better player. That’s important. But overall speed at all our linebacker positions.”

Minter is a key because he was a former second-round pick, but he was never drafted to be a speed guy. That was supposed to be Daryl Washington, whose game is predicated on speed. Washington’s future continues to be murky. According to the CBA, he can’t even begin the reinstatement process until sometime in early March, or 60 days before the end of what will be a year suspension. (The suspension was for at least a year; It was announced May 30 but the official notice might have come before that.) Then the NFL has to rule. Until then, the Cardinals say they aren’t even thinking about Washington and I would suppose they move forward in their defensive rebuild without him in mind. If he returns — remember, he still could face NFL punishment for his assault plea from last year — then it’s a bonus.

But in 2013, Arians saw first-hand what Washington’s speed could do. There is no denying Karlos Dansby had a fantastic season in 2013, but his play jumped another level when Washington returned from a four-game suspension that season. When you have guys that can cover ground sideline to sideline, when you have guys who can watch and keep up with someone like Russell Wilson if Wilson decides to scramble, then your defense has a different look.

That would seem to be a natural place for the Cardinals to start in free agency. How much speed might be available on the inside linebacker FA market is a different story. But when the first word out of the coach’s mouth each time he’s asked the question is “speed,” it’s obviously a priority.

Speed


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22 Responses to “The case for more speed and Daryl Washington”

  1. By K-Dub on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    Darren,

    Given the Ginn release and BA comments on depth. Any potential thoughts of J. Jones, or Wallace if he’s cut? A lot of targets with the Cards looking at blocking TEs.

    Thoughts on Worilds? Out of our price range?

  2. By Darren Urban on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    K-Dub —

    RE: Jones/Wallace

    I don’t see signing a WR like that. Maybe for returns, but one of the reasons Ginn was cut was because he was a fifth receiver. You aren’t signing Wallace to be a 4 behind Fitz, Floyd, John Brown — and any receiver coming in, that’s best case scenario.

    As for Worilds, we’ll see if he hits the market. I’d think they’d have to at least take a look.

  3. By Dre on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    I been saying that for years d wash is stud

  4. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    Interesting,

    Okafor is more of a strong side end in a 4-3. He gets to the QB with power. He replaced Shaughnessy, who was also a strong side end in a 4-3.

    Is there now going to be a change in philosophy?
    I get the ILB spot. Of course Dwash and Bucannon both ran well. But our OLBs have not been speed guys. Instead, guys who can set the edge on runs.

    I have always been one to like the more athletic type OLBs.
    Khalil Mack, Anthony Barr or DLaw out of last years draft. And inside, guys like Shazier, CJ Mosely, and Telvin Smith were pretty good using their speed.

    I’ve always believed you have d line who takes on blocks and LBs who fly around and make plays. But Bowles showed how effective the 1 gap defense can be and allowed those d lineman to make plays. Maybe they will still run the 1 gap, but use faster LBs to shot their gap? It will be interesting to see how the defense develops with the new DC.

    So, does Keim stick to speed in this years draft?
    If so, There has to be a huge target on Vic Beasley (although he won’t be there at 24). But Eli Harold and Zach Hodges are fast edge guys. While Shaq Thompson, Kwon Alexander, Eric Kendricks and Stephone Anthony have to be on the radar.

    It will be interesting who we can land.

  5. By Mark in Chandler on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    Darren,
    With Doty ruling that the NFL cannot retroactively apply the conduct policy to events that occurred prior to the new changes, how do you anticipate that will impact washington’s suspension- if there is a suspension based on the old conduct policy?

  6. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    Just saw the judges ruling that the NFL can’t make up rules as they go along. Could be the type of ruling DWash was waiting for. I’m not an attorney, but it seems you can not punish someone with a new rule after the “crime”.

    Darren, where is my logic off?

    With that, Washington takes care of that missing ILB spot.

    As for the other spot, I would love to see Stephone Anthony drafted to compete against Minter. I’m not as high on him as Keim and BA say they are.

    That takes us outside now and RB. How about two OLBs drafted to go with Anthony?

  7. By Darren Urban on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    JTDG, Mark in Chandler —

    RE: Washington/Doty

    It would seem to play into Washington’s favor. But until this all sorts out, impossible to know if that’s what will happen.

    Even if this all holds true, Washington is still in line for a potential suspension. Maybe not six games, but something.

  8. By bigcardfan on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    A judge just ruled the NFL cant punish AP retroactively, I would think this would also apply to Daryl and is domestic issue.

  9. By georgiebird on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    The linebacker position has killed the Cardinals forever. Everyone can agree that the Cards need more speed on defense (and they also need much more speed on offense with part-timers Ellington & Jo Brown the only above average).
    Where BASK have to be careful is that more speed means guys like DWash who can get trampled against a strong running game. DWash was great at pursuit but straight on DWASH offered little resistance.
    The linebackers needed in the 3-4 are a special breed- big, strong, fast, smart. The Cards have had one excellent LB in the last 50 years-Ken Harvey- and he was traded before he blossomed.
    This is my biggest concern with the Cardinals and the 3-4. One can argue that things will be different but history is not on the side of the Cardinals becoming a linebacker factory.

  10. By sggrange on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    Just watched the lamas breaking tackles and showing ‘burst”..Do you think Keim will have an interest? Maybe on the 90 man roster?

  11. By sggrange on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    Corrected question

    Just watched the llamas breaking tackles and showing ‘burst”..Do you think Keim will have an interest? Maybe on the 90 animal roster?

  12. By Mark in Chandler on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    John the draft Guy< One quick comment on Stephone Anthony. I do not seem him as competition for Minter for the MIKE. Anthony could play with Minter as the WILL if need be. I think he is a 3 down ILB. He is a big guy with power but he also ran a 4.53 which was the fastest for the ILB and is fluid in space on film. He is a great all around ILB. To me he is more like Willis than any ILB I have seen for a couple of years. I haven't talked myself into putting him as the #1 ILB and a 1st rd pick yet but I am getting closer the more I watch Clemson. the problem will be is if he is not taken in the 1st I doubt he would be there in the 2nd round when the Cards pick. To me he is the best player in the draft (along with Ewing) who is not getting a lot of press yet.

  13. By Lee W. Flanagan on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    Even if Washington has a suspension at the beginning of the season, that would help to keep him fresh for the final stretch of the season. Sure hope he gets his act together. He’s probably the best if not close to the best at his position in the NFL. Really excited to see the next season.

  14. By brinnc on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    I have been saying for some time now that DWash cannot be punished under the new NFL Personal Conduct policy since his incident took place prior to the policy change, with the Judge ruling on the Peterson case, and Hardy very confident that he too will face the old standards, I just cant see how DWash can be punished under the new policy!! Of course the NFL can do what they please since they have this totalitarian ruling system in place, but the NFLPA surely would take DWash’s case to court if he were punished under the new policy!! Im on record as saying I dont agree with hitting on women and children and I wouldnt blink if the Cardinals cut DWash, actually I prefer they do cut him, he has done nothing but serve suspensions for the past 18 months or so, as well as basically lying to the team, the fans, and most of all, himself!! But the NFL just cant be allowed to go around and suspend one player under the old policy and then another, and perhaps when a third walks through the door the NFL czar (Goodell) decides to use the new policy on Washington, and why?? Because he thinks he has the power to do it?? Unacceptable! ! I have proposed a council, or a panel on discipline, setting it up as neutral as possible, I might suggest a former player (with no suspensions or domestic violence incidents of course), a NFL league rep, and a domestic violence expert. Seems quite logical to me, but then again it is not often that large corporations dont always follow logic!
    Haven’t had time to post as much as I would like, seems my plan to return to the States, then return to the reserve retired list for the Marine Corps has been put on hold, there seems to be more than a few “hotspots” around the world that may or may not require my expertise (that is the Marine Corps word, not mine!! Not tooting my own horn!) so for the time being I’m basically in limbo, but I’am traveling quite a bit, training others, just in case. Plus I took a couple of weeks where I put myself into a “vegetative” state, where I moved any part of my body as little as possible!! LOL!

  15. By erik on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    I am thinking along the same lines as other posters here. I think come March 30th, D. Wash will be allowed back with the team and he will be ready to go. And the dude is so talented, everyone will be psyched to have him back.

  16. By Steve on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    Darren,

    It’s obviously how SK and BA roll but why are they SO open about what positions/traits the team is targeting for players? It gives the organization NO benefit whatsoever to be that honest in the media. Sure it’s fairly obvious we need speed on defense but now you’ve announced to the entire league just exactly what you’re looking for and is our greatest priority.

    Now if an ILB with talent/speed starts to slip in the draft and our pick is coming up, teams behind us know they will have to move ahead of us to draft that guy. Which I think is exactly what happened last year with Attaochu (sp) in the 2nd round when SD traded ahead of us (SK and BA had been talking all pre-draft about needing a pass rusher to pair with Abraham) and we were left holding the bag and settling for Bear. I just don’t see any other teams being that open with their future plans. This is my only issue with SK and BA. Keep this info IN HOUSE!!!

  17. By Darren Urban on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Speed on D

    It’s not exactly like it’s rocket science that they need more speed.

  18. By roger on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    Darren, I know this if far fetched and all, but NFL.com did a article on those who may get cut/released from “no surprise ” ” might be a shocking release”. One of the names in which they listed was Paul Poz. (LB) from Jax. If this were to occur, and I know that’s a huge “WHAT IF”, do you feel the Cardinals would go after him? I know he’s coming off an bad injury, but he still by far is one good LB.

  19. By Darren Urban on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    Roger —

    RE: Poz

    If he is released they could look at him. But the Jags have a lot of cap space.

  20. By Scott H on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    Dre –

    RE: been saying for years that D Wash is a stud

    Well, I think we knew that. That is hardly a revelation. But a stud is only a stud when he is ON THE FIELD playing his position consistently at a level of dominance. Washington hasn’t been on the field since 2013 and it seems like there is no certainty when – or even IF – he will see the field again.

    So, his being a stud isn’t doing a damn thing for the Arizona Cardinals. These are prime years of his career that are going down the tubes.

  21. By georgiebird on Feb 26, 2015 | Reply

    @Mark in Chandler
    The Mike linebacker is the Middle linebacker in a 4-3 system . The Sam is the strong side LB and the Will (previously the Wanda) is the weak side LB. Don’t know if these terms translate to the 3-4 scheme.

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