Arizona Cardinals defense now has to deal with loss of Budda Baker
The Arizona Cardinals defensive unit could struggle to stay afloat without Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker in the starting lineup.
The Arizona Cardinals are having an awful season thus far in 2022. It now appears that things could get even worse.
On Monday, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport broke the news that Budda Baker will miss time with a high ankle sprain. Last week, Arizona’s Pro Bowl safety was nursing the injury, and his status for this past Sunday’s match with the Seattle Seahawks was up in the air. Baker apparently re-aggravated the ankle, and Rapoport is reporting that a multiple-week absence is not out of the question.
It’s a brutal blow to a Cards defensive unit that has already yielded the most points (241) in the NFL. Can coordinator Vance Joseph’s group stay afloat without Baker, a 5 foot 10, 195 pounder who is arguably the squad’s best defender?
Budda Baker is off to another fine campaign for the Arizona Cardinals
Baker and teammate Jalen Thompson form one of the finest safety tandems in professional football. The veterans are outstanding versus the run, and are excellent on the back end in coverage as well.
Through nine weeks, Baker’s 71 tackles lead the Cardinals. The 26-year-old is a fearless competitor who throws his body around with reckless abandon during each and every game.
Replacing Baker for however long he is out will be just about impossible. The only other safety on the roster at the moment is Chris Banjo, a 32-year old who has performed mainly on special teams during his 10-year pro career. Another possible replacement for Baker is Isaiah Simmons, the versatile linebacker who has lined up all over the field.
In what could be considered an interesting twist, the Las Vegas Raiders released safety Johnathan Abram on Tuesday. The 26-year-old was the 27th-overall selection of the draft back in 2019, and racked up 255 tackles during his stint with the Raiders. Being that the Cards are now three games under the .500 mark however, it’s highly unlikely that general manager Steve Keim would make a move to acquire the talented Abram.
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