Arizona Cardinals have major concerns at the safety position
By Jim Koch
The Arizona Cardinals defense has suffered a number of injuries at the safety position just three weeks into the 2020 campaign
This past Sunday, Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowler Budda Baker played through an injury. The 24-year old safety has a UCL tear in his thumb, and is expected to have surgery this week. The Cards are hoping that Baker will be sidelined for just one game, but that could very well be wishful thinking.
Baker is just one of several Arizona safeties who’ve been bitten by the injury-bug during the first month of the 2020 campaign. Back in week one, second-year pro Jalen Thompson was forced from the squad’s victory over the San Francisco 49ers with a bad ankle. Just days later, the 22-year old was placed on the injured-reserve list by the club.
Filling in for Thompson in the starting lineup was Chris Banjo, a 30-year old who has excelled primarily on special teams. More bad luck struck the Cardinals this past weekend, however, when the veteran pulled a hamstring during the loss to the Detroit Lions. Banjo was then replaced by Deionte Thompson, a fifth-round draft pick of the franchise in 2019.
For those of you who are counting, that’s three injured Cards safeties in three weeks. It’s rotten luck for a defensive unit that has shown improvement thus far this season. Finding replacements for the trio is the next order of business for the Arizona front office.
One idea that’s being floated involves Isaiah Simmons, the eighth-overall selection of this past April’s NFL Draft. Though he’s been situated primarily at linebacker up until this point, there’s been some discussion about moving the youngster into the secondary. Simmons played a bevy of different positions at Clemson University, with safety being one of them.
The Cardinals have looked outside of the organization for help at the spot as well. T.J. Ward, a former Pro Bowler with the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos, was reportedly brought in for a workout. Old friend Tony Jefferson was also offered a tryout, but the defender’s agent told the Cards that his client is not healthy enough to play at the current time.
For now, Deionte Thompson and Curtis Riley, a journeyman who was signed on September 16th, will attempt to pick up the slack. Not an ideal situation by any means for defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. All Arizona fans can hope for is that Baker and Jalen Thompson will heal quickly, and make a fast return to the starting lineup.