With the injury to Calais Campbell, the Arizona Cardinals will have a six-man rotation on the defensive line against the Washington Redskins, according to head coach Bruce Arians.
After veterans Frostee Rucker and Tommy Kelly played significantly on Sunday, there will be a better division of playing time. "We've got a good rotation now on the defensive front and I like where we are at as far as young guys," Arians told the media on Friday.
He was then asked if rookies Kareem Martin and Ed Stinson will figure prominently in the game plan. "Oh yeah," he answered. "We'll have a six-man rotation and roll them in and out."
That rotation would appear to be veterans Rucker and Stinson, Dan Williams, rookies Martin and Stinson, and then probably Alameda Ta'amu, although as he has gotten very little playing time recently, perhaps that could be Bruce Gaston.
In any case, this is a big opportunity for guys like Stinson and Martin.
Tommy Kelly said "the young guys just need to step up and take advantage of the opportunity" and noted, "if you don't take advantage of it, they're going to bring someone else in and get the job done."
That's how he got his start. "I just grabbed it and ran with it," he said. "I ain't looked back since."
Kelly joked about the number of snaps he was out there against Denver. He played 68 snaps. "Trust me, I would love not to play 60, but you gotta do what you gotta do to help the team at that point of time," he said.
The young guys should be able to help there. Because of their youth, "(they) should be able to play all day anyway."
The key is knowing the defense so they can "just go 100 miles an hour without thinking."
How will the rotation play out?
Kelly played a handful of snaps on the right side of the defensive line after Campbell got hurt, but then it was Rucker that got most of the time on that side. Kelly played much more on the left side. Both of the veterans can play either side, but Kelly is more comfortable on the left.
Kelly, Dan Williams and Rucker will likely be the starters. Stinson has only played the left side and Martin has only played the right. Williams has gotten snaps on either side when they take out the nose tackle in nickel and dime sets. Ta'amu will probably get a handful of snaps at nose tackle in base sets.
The defense is still confident despite allowing over 500 yards of offense to the Broncos last week.
"We should be confident," said Kelly. "We've got a good defense. We had a bad day against a Hall of Famer. We'll be all right. If it was a bum out there and did that, it'd be different, but we got Peyton Manning."
Kelly knows Washington will provide a challenge, but he knows the defense is ready. "(Washington's) got a good offense, but we've faced some really, really good offenses -- San Diego, the Giants got hot, Frisco," he said. "It isn't like we've had some cupcakes."
So, in addition to the vets in Rucker and Kelly, they will need to lean on their young guys to "keep (the defense) afloat" until Calais Campbell and Matt Shaughnessy return. That depth will make them even better.