Spoon’s absence, and Buc as LB

Posted by Darren Urban on August 25, 2015 – 3:06 pm

Sean Weatherspoon’s extended absence has been, in Bruce Arians’ words, “discouraging.” Certainly Weatherspoon’s spot in this defense feels like a question mark (although if he gets back on the field in the next week, I’m not sure we’ll even think about it anymore.) With Weatherspoon still out, not much has been figured out in terms of the inside linebacker position.

Or maybe it has.

Look, there has never been any doubt of the depth the Cardinals have at safety, or the fact both Bruce Arians and defensive coordinator James Bettcher have said multiple times they will put the best 11 on the field. Or the fact Arians earlier in camp called safety Deone Bucannon the lone “inside linebacker” he can see on the field all three downs (with Weatherspoon on the shelf, of course.)

Bucannon would like to play safety. But he is smart enough — and team-oriented enough — that he’ll play wherever. He reiterated that again Monday. As long as Rashad Johnson (who, it can be noted is in the last year of his contract) and Tony Jefferson and Tyrann Mathieu are around, and as long as Bucannon probably is better suited in the box rather than running around to cover a lot of guys, linebacker is his spot. To be out there a lot could be a concern given his weight (he is listed at 211) but I know there are many out there who suggested Bucannon may be better suited at linebacker.

Things change from year to year. If Johnson isn’t here in 2016, if the Cards get Weatherspoon to click and stay beyond this season, if an athletic inside linebacker is drafted, maybe this all changes. But even if Weatherspoon gets back to where the Cardinals want him to be, I’m guessing Bucannon will be next to him, in front of the secondary, much of the time.


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35 Responses to “Spoon’s absence, and Buc as LB”

  1. By georgiebird on Aug 25, 2015 | Reply

    Linebacker problems- they never go away in Cardinals’ land.
    Using Bucannon as a LB is a waste of a draft choice. There will be a time in the future when people will say ” the safety position is still new to Buc, that’s why he’s blown a few coverages and cost us a few games- too bad the Cards used him as a LB early in his career.
    Bucannon is a #1 draft choice – he should be good enough to start as a safety in his second year. If Buc was a late round pick, I would see nothing wrong with moving him around.

  2. By Darren Urban on Aug 25, 2015 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: LB

    Wait, he’s playing (and fitting in to what they want to do.) How is that a wasted draft choice?

  3. By jaime on Aug 25, 2015 | Reply

    #20 is awesome!! This guy gets it. I bet we are in for quite a show from him this year, i just feel it…

  4. By D on Aug 25, 2015 | Reply

    Players in their last year of contract:

    J. Powers
    J. Bethel
    R. Johnson
    T. Jefferson (RFA)
    M. Leach
    D. Zastudil
    D. Stanton
    D. Fells (RFA)
    J. Gresham
    S. Weatherspoon
    B. Massie

    Many more but I got tired of typing..

  5. By D on Aug 25, 2015 | Reply

    Darren-is it time to take C. Campbell off the field goal unit, maybe replacing him with K. Martin (almost as tall)
    Hate to lose their best and most expensive Dlineman to injury on these plays.

  6. By Lynn on Aug 25, 2015 | Reply


    Sounds like Daryl Washington is a lost cause. Too bad, but life is all about choices, and he seems to make bad ones, repeatedly.
    I’ll be surprised if Steve Keim doesn’t pick up someone from cut down time. Ideal No. Has it worked in the past, Yes. Go Cards.

  7. By John The Draft Guy on Aug 25, 2015 | Reply

    I hated the pick of Bucannon. I liked Demarcus Lawrence who went to Dallas a few picks later.
    Bucannon has become a good draft pick, but not as a safety. I think it would be very interesting how much he would play if the cards had Weatherspoon and DW at ILBs. I really don’t think he is better than Johnson and HB. Im not sure he is better than Jefferson.

    Bucannon as a LB / Hmmmmm. Let’s go back to 2014 and the draft.

    May 8th

    All along I have compared this guy to Adrian Wilson.
    In today’s NFL, I viewed that as a negative. ADubs knock out shots were outlawed, Adrian was a great blitzer, but Bowles doesnt send his SS much, TEs like Davis and Cook can run and I am not sure he can cover them.
    Obviously, Keim sees it differently. If you feel the cards needed a Adrian Wilson clone, you should be so happy right now. I am not in the meeting rooms and I am not hearing the plans our DC Bowles has for him. They obviously have a plan.

    May 10th 2014

    Round 1- Bucannon fills a need at SS. At first, I was against this pick, but as the draft unfolded, I could see what the card brass is looking to do. I saw the niners, Hawks, and Rams all have three wr sets and an athletic TE. With the sets, Minter will come off for Powers. With minter off and maybe the NT too, the Hawks, Rams and niners (who have big backs) can run against a smaller front. Bucannon can play the short passes but also crowd the line and stop the run in these sub packages. – I get why they took Bucannon to match the NFC west.

    What are the cards doing? Calling Bucannon a Nickle LB, and he plays in a sub package. Funny thing is, they play that sub package most of the time. He plays up by the line and blitzes.

    So, with the lack of any kind of speed by Minter, and DWash being done, even with the return of Weatherspoon, look for Bucannon to play lots of LB. Heck, I don’t think he played one down of safety last year and wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t again this year.

  8. By NJAzCardsFan on Aug 25, 2015 | Reply

    Darren- Any idea if the NFL will settle the DWash issue before the season starts?

    Does the Cards mgmt want him back???

  9. By Darren Urban on Aug 25, 2015 | Reply

    NJAZ —

    RE: DWash

    Nothing’s changed.

  10. By Scott H on Aug 25, 2015 | Reply

    Look, with Washington AND Weatherspoon equally useless to us at this point, I say it’s a blessing that Buc is as versatile as he is. I don’t care what his position was ( or was SUPPOSED to be ) on the day he was drafted. If the kid can play linebacker – AND WE ARE WELL EQUIPPED AT SAFETY WITH OTHER PLAYERS -then let him play at linebacker.

    My God, if Carson Palmer had been drafted as a TE, would anyone be saying he should be playing at TE right now???

    We have bigger things to worry about. Like the scrambling along the O-line with Iupati out and Humphries looking nowhere near ready to play.

    Did I mention that Humphries was our FIRST ROUND pick?

  11. By Scott H on Aug 25, 2015 | Reply

    By the way, I refuse to refer to Weatherspoon as “Spoon” or any other cute nickname for that matter. You aren’t playing? You don’t get a nickname. Period.

    As I mentioned before, Bigfoot would be a better name for him. Because they both appear to be a myth at this point.

  12. By shane on Aug 25, 2015 | Reply

    i love all the mini Gm’s who think they know more than an actual Gm & head coach lol.. just shut up & let them do there job.. and also stop over reacting to every little thing that happens in preseason.. its Preseason! its meant for the players to get ready for the season. Theres going to be mistakes it happens get over it .. And weather-spoon and the other players that are injured shut up about them there hurt!….. you complaining about them isn’t going to do squat the’ll come back when there healthy! People need to chill and just let things play out ..

  13. By BigBobDiesel on Aug 25, 2015 | Reply

    One of the best players on defense

  14. By rod on Aug 25, 2015 | Reply

    @Scott H

    Totally agree, I called him “Spoon” until he turned into a me first sissy-la la. He’s definitely not like the majority of the players on this team, team is first, just ask Larry.

    Maybe he should be called “Witherspoon” because of his shriveled up little legs.

    I work with an Atlanta Falcon guy and he warned me about “Wither”spoon…he was right, that guy sure pulled the wool over Keim’s eyes.

  15. By Jon Elder on Aug 25, 2015 | Reply

    Man that is indeed unfortunate about Humpries. He may (or may not) be a bust, but he certainly is not a successful 1st round pick. Those guys are the ones who are able to play and contribute when needed.

  16. By roger on Aug 25, 2015 | Reply

    If my memory serves me right, there use to be another Safety who at times played LB, pending the package the defense had out. This Safety could not only destroy an opp. at the Safety position, but did so as a LB, when used as one. In fact, this Safety was by far one of the best defensive players/leaders the Cardinals ever had. Now, how does this Safety come in play with this story, well when the Cards. drafted Buc. last year, many, and if my memory serves me right, this Safety said it himself as well, compared Buc and said Buc reminded them of……….the one and only A-DUB! Both hit similar, built similar, etc. So for those who question why use Buc as a LB and a Safety, I say, who cares, the man is a beast and only helps the team when he is on the field rather it’s at LB or his drafted status of a Safety. Many player change postitions once they hit NFL b/c coaches can find talent in them elsewhere as well that maybe they never knew they were that talented at to begin with.

  17. By Cards4Ever on Aug 26, 2015 | Reply

    What does Minter have to show to be an every down linebacker? He’s all over the place while he’s been in there these couple games

  18. By Corgon on Aug 26, 2015 | Reply

    In the meantime where is Kevin Minter?…if Spoon and Deone could be a pair of ILBs.

  19. By Steve on Aug 26, 2015 | Reply

    Weatherspoon is a bum, one of the few free agent pickups that Keim will regret.

  20. By Darren Urban on Aug 26, 2015 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Weatherspoon

    Weatherspoon participated in every practice this offseason. He hurts his hamstring, hasn’t missed any regular-season time yet, and he’s a bum? Please explain.

  21. By Eazy E on Aug 26, 2015 | Reply

    Deone I didn’t love when we drafted him, but he has shown that he can play. I really hope and pray D-Wash comes back very dang soon, he is so good! Spoon I hope is back soon too because he is nice also. Hamstring injuries have us hamstrung for real!

  22. By John The Draft Guy on Aug 26, 2015 | Reply

    Comparisons for Bucannon;

    Back when Buc was drafted, I likened him to Thomas Davis. A big hard hitting safety. Carolina made him an all pro LB. He covers backs out of the back field and does a great job in short zones.

    The cards did this (not should do this- but did this) with Buc last year. (I know Davis is a Will Lb in a 4-3, but a lot of the sub packages put Buc in that same spot).

    With Honey Badger, Johnson and Jefferson, AND the lack of anything that looks like an ILB healthy and not suspended, This is the correct move.

  23. By T-Roy on Aug 26, 2015 | Reply

    For Everyone,

    When me and my brother where in the same HS growing up and we would hit the courts or the filed, no one would let us both be on the same team. They knew that we would destroy the opponents, no matter who. We where raised to be winners and we refused to lose. To be on opposite teams was comical between us. Here is the story. When choosing teams, you choose 2 captains. He and I were always captains picking against each other. How did we choose our teams; best available athlete left or not chosen. This is exactly the way BA ad SK build their rosters. I would much rather have a BUC than to have a DL that isn’t as good in pass or run. Who cares. Buchanon has proven he will hit you if you’re in the way. Look at CC Saturday night when he got plastered by BUC. Let them best 11 play. We are winning with that philosophy. I am good with it. Love where we are headed. Being a StL fan for 25+ years and now out in AX, I love it. Want to go to see my CARDS in another SB. Do it baby.

  24. By Marcelof on Aug 26, 2015 | Reply

    If you got talent, you got talent. Period.
    Spoon’s got talent, now It’s a matter of when he’s back and how long it will take him to show his talent. I’m excited to see him play.

    Most posts here are about draft choices when regarding BUC, but come on folks there’re some many “what ifs” in the draft that would drive every Buda crazy. Ok Cards could have picked some better talent who went later, but could also have lost some picks that Cards themselves picked later.

  25. By jaime on Aug 26, 2015 | Reply

    I like weatherspoon, it sucks he has an injury but i believe this wont matter much when season starts and hes in the 90% healthy range, lets be real not many players are ever 100% healthy, they say that cause thats what they are told to say (to a point of course). I understand the Frustration from some fans but i dont understand the negativity, Cards dont need fans like that, and i absolutely hate it when im sitting next to you peeps at the games, very depressing to be around and just plain rude. Its one thing to be frustrated and dissapointed its another to be ugly and negative.

  26. By Scott H on Aug 26, 2015 | Reply

    Marcelof –

    RE: Spoons’ got talent

    OK. Well, so did Kevin Kolb. Kolb could not stay healthy, therefore, could not sustain a career in the NFL. I really do hope Weatherspoon will be a different story. But this is not just a matter of how he is doing right now, this off-season. This is a guy who has barely been able to get on the field at all since, what…2012? And in THAT regard, hate say it but a comparison to Kolb is absolutely appropriate.

    Other Cardinals I remember that fell into this category – Andre Wadsworth and Timmy Rosenbach. Both looked like they had all the potential in the world. But their health issues just never let it happen for either.

  27. By All Day on Aug 26, 2015 | Reply

    Look we all know we needed help at the ILB position period. The market was incredibly thin this year all things considered. Spoon was a good pick up injured or not. Like Darren said above participated in every offseason practice and hasn’t missed a regular season game yet. Is it frustrating? Yeah. But you can’t write him off yet. I still love my boy Glenn Carson but I’d take Spoon over him any day of the week. And with Buccannon playing Linebacker who cares. He’s on the field helping the team. With how loaded our Safety position is its just getting another good player on the field.

  28. By MichaelfromStl on Aug 26, 2015 | Reply

    I love the articles, but the negative comments…. Haha nevermind. Just believe

  29. By Dr. G. on Aug 26, 2015 | Reply

    Hey Darren…Every time I see a question about DWash, I feel your frustration…! You cannot post what a fan can….like: “”Is he a con artist in this matter.?””

    I have tried numerous times ((as you have)) to explain to fans that the NFL “MAY NOT” offer commentary during any process regarding player violations, suspensions, etc. They state that they can only publish “results.” PERIOD, THAT IS THE CBA PRIVACY RULE..!

    Again for your readers: “”If a player DOES NOT file application, the NFL cannot ((may not)) comment. The required time frame for the NFL to respond to any ((so called)) application from DWash has long since passed…May 8th. So any 6th grader will conclude that there has been no application filed; and one can conclude that this man is still blowing smoke in everyone’s ears. If he files while he cannot pass the medical testing, that would be his Waterloo…permanently…

    Please Fans, no more ???s on DWash. IMO ((with facts)), he is done until he himself comes forth with something. Do not blame the NFL…or any of our Cardinal Staff… Anything you heard is just a rumor.
    Thank you…

  30. By georgiebird on Aug 26, 2015 | Reply

    @Dr G-
    Desperation is the reason DWash’s name is brought up. If the Cardinals even had a facsimile of a linebacking unit, DWash would have become a forgotten name like Cody Brown, Buster Davis, Levar Fisher, etc, etc, etc.

  31. By Jimbowan on Aug 26, 2015 | Reply

    We are so lucky to have universal, team players like DB. DB is selfless, which seems to be kiems mo come draft time. Makes me wonder why he drafted Humphreys. Dude is lazy and will be a bust. We should have traded our pick to the panthers. In response to D’s post, most of those guys are only here this year due to their contracts anyways. Aside from Bethel, the rest are expendable.

  32. By Jim Koch on Aug 26, 2015 | Reply

    Response to georgiebird. I think the reason Buc is playing ILB is because they have no one else BETTER! Maybe if Spoon gets his lazy ass on the field or DWash is reinstated he can go back to the secondary.

  33. By Jim Koch on Aug 26, 2015 | Reply

    To: Darren. I actually agree with Steve’s “bum” description of Spoon. You are reacting like he’s never missed time before. There’s a difference between being “hurt” and “injured”. How long can this guy be out with a hammy? He’s done nothing in his career to earn benefit of the doubt. Saw a Falcons episode of ” Hard Knocks” and he was hurt in that camp too. And didn’t seem at all upset about it. Just like him yukking it up on the sideline during the SD game the other night. Maybe “bum” is a strong word but the guy has ZERO heart. And by the way BA doesn’t seem to be too happy with him either.

  34. By Marcelof on Aug 27, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H –

    That’s why I stated “a matter of coming back…” there’s no reason to have talent but not being able to play. Glassmade guys do not thrive in this league.

    Just read Niklas is sidelined again… another damn case of a “fragile talent”

  35. By clssylssy on Aug 27, 2015 | Reply

    It would seem that part of the problem lies with the Cardinal scouting department and signings by Keim, who’s job it is to make these decisions about evaluating “quality prospects”. I know that few (if anybody) will own up to this line of thought but other teams actually train their scouts with continuous educational symposiums
    which seems a good investment rather just relying on “gut” and a shotgun approach! Looking at the players we have signed both in the draft and as FA who have preexisiting injuries/history of being injured, why are we so surprised when we end up with nothing but crushed hopes from these acquisitions?

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