The Arizona Cardinals have been going with a three-man rotation at outside linebacker. Alex Okafor, Markus Golden and Dwight Freeney have been the guys splitting almost all the snaps, with Freeney staying within the 20-25 snap rage most games. However, that rotation probably will have to change with the knee injury to Golden, who suffered a deep bone bruise in his knee. It appears he might sit out this weekend in the regular season finale.
Enter Kareem Martin, whose sack and forced fumble last week resulted in a touchdown. Martin will be part of that rotation this weekend if Golden is unable to go. Head coach Bruce Arians indicated they would "probably go with a three-man rotation outside," although he also did mention undrafted rookie linebacker Alani Fua as another guy who could get in there.
Fua plays inside linebacker, but is versatile enough to come off the edge. He has played a few snaps this season as an edge guy.
Arians said Martin "played pretty well last week." And, as noted, his two career sacks have been productive. His one sack last season and his one on Sunday both were strip sacks that resulted in fumble recoveries for touchdowns. Antonio Cromartie scored on last year's sack and strip, while Cory Redding scored on the one on Sunday.
Martin has "made good progress" this year. Drafted a year ago and played at defensive end with the hope perhaps he could develop into a guy like Calais Campbell, he was moved to outside linebacker to play off the edge, taking advantage of his pass rushing skills. He is getting used to standing up at the line of scrimmage and getting sight lines and doing other things like dropping into coverage and playing in space. But he also has proven his value in other ways. "He has played really, really well on special teams," Arians said.
So Martin will get his chance on Sunday. It will be interesting to see how he does. If he shows flashes of promise, with Okafor, Golden and Shaq Riddick, who has yet to even play a single snap this season, Arizona has a promising young group of pass rusher moving forward.