Arizona Cardinals’ locker room chock-full of leaders
The Arizona Cardinals have an abundance of players who can show the younger members of the squad how to master their craft
The head coach of the Arizona Cardinals has got it made. If Bruce Arians has a message to get across to some of the young bucks on his team, he doesn’t necessarily need to convey it himself.
For a team with such strong Super Bowl aspirations, having players who can lead becomes a necessity. One needs to just take a look around the locker room to see that there are a bevy of Cards who possess that quality.
The most obvious one of that group is quarterback Carson Palmer. The 37-year old has 14 seasons under his belt, and has witnessed how three different NFL organizations operate. Despite the absence of a Super Bowl appearance, Arizona’s starter of the last five years has seen it all.
Palmer exhibits leadership skills both on and off the field. The former USC Trojan has the moxie of a classic signal-caller, and never appears to get rattled during a game. Although he speaks in what can be described as a monotone, Palmer handles his media obligations like a pro.
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Future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald is the classic “lead by example “type of guy. If you’re looking for a controversial quote, or someone to rock the boat, then the wide receiver isn’t your man. Instead, his impeccable work habits and class are something that the younger wideouts can attempt to mimic.
Despite not being in the desert for as long as some of his teammates, tight end Jermaine Gresham has exhibited a fiery presence since his arrival. His passion for the game is frighteningly obvious on gamedays. The former Cincinnati Bengal is the type of player you love to have on your side, but despise when he’s not.
On the defensive side of the ball, Patrick Peterson is an extremely vocal member of the secondary. The cornerback’s six consecutive Pro Bowls more than gives him the right to state his peace where he sees fit. There little doubt that Cardinals corners such as Justin Bethel and Brandon Williams can benefit from being around a stud like Peterson.
Based on his sub-par play last season, Frostee Rucker probably was re-signed for other reasons. The defensive end could be back to fill the leadership void created by Calais Campbell’s departure. Rucker’s main role in ’17 will be to guide the young Arizona linemen, what he does on the field will be gravy.
First-round draft pick Haason Reddick couldn’t have a better mentor than Karlos Dansby. The 35-year old veteran will show the young inside linebacker how to play his new position. Deone Bucannon and Scooby Wright may learn a thing or two from Dansby as well.
The Cards have a nice blend of grizzled old-heads and young whippersnappers heading into this season. General manager Steve Keim has done a nice job of assembling such a group. And if the less-experienced players need guidance, there are plenty of people besides the head coach who can provide it.