2009 Arizona Cardinals Preview: Defensive Line


by Scott Allen


The Arizona Cardinals defensive line in 2008 was a force to be reckoned with.  There are a couple of changes on that line for the upcoming 2009 season, however I view it was a positive, something that couldn’t always be said when a good player such as Antonio Smith, left the Cardinals in the past.

Who’s gone from 2008:

Antonio Smith

Who’s new in 2009:

Keilen Dykes, Jason Banks, Rodney Leisle

What to expect in 2009:

The only major departure from this squad is Smith, who bolted for the  Houston Texans.  This unit continues to grow and I expect a lot out of second year player Calais Campbell, who is expected to take the full-time starting spot vacated by Smith.  Darnell Dockett, who did not get the extension he was looking for, came out on his Twitter page a couple of weeks ago to proclaim he would not let his team down by allowing his contract to be a distraction, clearly a poke at wide receiver Anquan Boldin and his willingness to allow his contract situation to dominate the headlines last training camp.

The clear surprise of this unit last season was Gabe Watson.  He flourished in the Cards system and also look to him for bigger and better things in 2009.  I would expect to hear his name quite often on Sunday’s this season and for all the right reasons. The sentimental favorite this season is Kenny Iwebema, who was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm and had to have surgery in May to remove the mass.  It was non-malignant and removed in time for him to be able to participate in training camp this year.