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Markus Golden ahead of schedule in development

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The rookie doesn't want to come out of the lineup.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie outside linebacker Markus Golden has gotten significant playing time over the last couple of weeks because of the calf injury to Alex Okafor. He is also getting the praise of his head coach. Bruce Arians told the media Golden is ahead of schedule in terms of his development this year.

Against the Ravens, he was credited with seven quarterback pressures by Pro Football Focus. He was disruptive. As always, you can see the effort on the field.

"He's exactly what we drafted - a junkyard dog," Arians told the media. 'He goes full speed in practice all the time. You have to tell him, ‘Whoa.' That's what his signature is. It's his motor."

He also is giving them more than was expected this early.

"He's playing extremely well," Arians said. "For a rookie, he's probably six weeks ahead of where I thought he would be. Normally you don't count on them until after Thanksgiving, but he's done a nice job, with Alex's injury, of stepping in there and playing solid in both base and nickel. His role has really increased."

Arians said it is Golden's pride that has helped him stay ahead of the game. He doesn't want to come out of the lineup.

When Okafor returns, we will see what role his plays. Veteran Dwight Freeney, an established pass rusher, took over the role Golden had before Okafor's injury. One would believe Freeney would stay in that role and Golden would take a lesser one, but we will see.

While the Cardinals have lacked a real edge threat, if Okafor comes back healthy and effective, combined with Golden and Freeney, maybe the Cardinals will get some real push off the edge consistently.