Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Calais Campbell called Daryl Washington "the best player on the field, hands down." That is how important he is to the defense. He now is back, as he returns from his four-game suspension under the NFL's substance abuse policy.
While it is no surprise, head coach Bruce Arians said on Monday that Washington would start. As we have discussed a few times in the last weeks and months, the question now remains who will start alongside him inside. Arians said that it would "probably" be Karlos Dansby.
Some speculated, including myself, that Dansby might see some time at outside linebacker in light of the injuries that the team has suffered at the position and the fact that it would allow Jasper Brinkley to be in the game, at least for running situations. However, Arians said that Dansby would stay inside.
It will be interesting to see the rotation at the position, or if there will be much rotation. Dansby has played every snap this season. Washington will not likely see time off the field. Unless Dansby is used in more of a rotational role now, it could mean that Brinkley will not get much playing time. Meanwhile, rookie Kevin Minter still has yet to play a defensive snap and now he is one slot further down on the depth chart. He does look like he may be able to play this week as his hamstring is improving, per the head coach.
The Cardinals potentially have three starters coming back on defense on Sunday at home -- Washington, Dan Williams and Rashad Johnson. The unit has been stellar against the run. Will they see improvement across the board?