The Arizona Cardinals lost a very important playmaker in Karlos Dansby this offseason. They did so knowing that they had second-year linebacker Kevin Minter waiting in the wings. However, looking at Minter's 2013 season, it wasn't as if there was anything in game tape that would tell you he could do it -- only the potential the coaches saw from his college tape.
But entering his second season and expected to be the starter alongside Daryl Washington, Minter is "a different person," according to head coach Bruce Arians, who was asked about the LSU product's progress.
Minter's development mirrors what happened with him when he was at LSU in his second year.
"When checking back with the folks at LSU, his freshman year he was kind of how he was last year, it was like lost," Arians explained. "But his sophomore year he was thrown more into a leadership role and he really relished in it.
"He has done a really nice job right now accepting the role he’s got and trying to expand on it.”
Minter does have to play a leadership role on the field. LIke Dansby last year, Minter is "the signal caller, the leader of the defense."
Arians believes that defensive Todd Bowles will be able to scheme the defense effectively for Minter to be successful, just as he was able to do for Dansby in 2013.
What that will look like in 2014 is the question. Minter does not have the same skillset that Dansby does. Minter is not the sideline-to-sideline player that Dansby. Minter is a "thumper." The team shouldn't lose anything against the run and will likely have to do things differently in terms of pass coverage assignments.
What realistic expectations do you have from Minter in his second year and first with significant playing time on defense?