Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was a guest on The Drive on Fox Sports Radio 910 with Mike Jurecki and Jody Oehler. While on the air, he was asked about several issues on the defensive side of the ball, including what he expects from linebacker Kevin Minter, the status of Tyrann Mathieu and the safety situation.
Bowles didn't overstate expectations for Minter, a second-year player who will take Karlos Dansby's place in the lineup. "He's not going to be Karlos," Bowles explained. "He's got to be Kevin. He's not going to be out there playing one-on-one, there's going to be 10 other guys around him. Hes been playing linebacker his entire life. Nothing's going to be new to him. He brings a different dynamic than Karlos."
When asked what Minter brings to the table, Bowles said, "Kevin's a thumper. He likes to go downhill and he likes to take on guards and hit and hit fullbacks."
He expressed confidence in his talent, but did add the important part of Minter's development. The team is "looking for him to make a jump more mentally than physically."
The inside linebacker position is not super deep right now. We have heard that Lorenzo Alexander is going to be moving inside. Bowles also downplayed that, saying that Alexander will play both inside and out and that the move is more about making sure that someone could play in an emergency.
When asked about Antonio Cromartie and covering tight ends, he said it was a possibility, depending on the game plan. "There will be a place for that," he said about putting Cromartie on a tight end.
Perhaps the biggest hole to fill defensively is the strong safety position. Bowles was up front in saying "hopefully we can add to (the position)." He did, though, make sure to bring up the guys they already have. He named Tony Jefferson and Curtis Taylor and said, "We look for Tony to make the jump just like Kevin" from reserve to starter.
The return of safety Tyrann Mathieu is still up in the air. the radio hosts asked if Bowles thinks Mathieu will be in training camp. "I wish I knew that answer," he answered, citing the fact that he hasn't even started running.
"As a coach you have to move forward," he said. "You can't go into the season hoping he'll be ready."
In other words, he isn't planning for him, but if he ends up healthy, then great!
The interesting thing out of all this is that they really hope Tony Jefferson will step up the way that they expect Kevin Minter to do so. That will be one of the things to watch in training camp this year, regardless of the players the Cardinals draft.
You can listen to the full interview using the player below.
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