One of the more puzzling things in 2014 for the Arizona Cardinals was the lack of playing time for nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu. He was dynamic a disruptive in 2013, a big reason why they were the league's best defense against the run. But after an ACL tear in Week 17, he did not bounce back well in 2014 despite seemingly being healthy.
When Bruce Arians had breakfast with the media at the owners meetings this week and the question came up. What happened to Alameda last season?
"He was not the same guy," Arians explained. "He got heavy, basically ate himself out of a job."
Ta'amu is listed at 348 pounds on the team site. He must have been well above that weight, which is something that can happen after an injury.
Arians also talked about other players on the defensive line, discussing the addition of Cory Redding and Corey Peters.
Arians raved about Redding, who was on the Colts when Arians was interim head coach in 2012.
"Cory Redding might be the best leader I've been around," Arians said. "He's got a great knowledge, of not just his position, but the entire defense and it's a very similar defense.
"He brings a passion and energy. His play hasn't diminished in the last seven years. I mean, he's still making plays. But, what he brings to that locker room."
It sounds like they will have lost nothing in terms of leadership after the loss of Darnell Dockett and (at least what it appears to be) Tommy Kelly.
Arians loves the versatility of Peters. "He's not coming out of the game," he said. "He's got sacks. He's disruptive in the middle of the pocket. He can play nose, he can play three...We've added great depth as far as position flexibility with those two guys and a lot of energy and passion."
Last year's fifth round pick Ed Stinson also drew praise from the head coach. He said he wants Stinson to stay at his 2014 weight so he can play across the line, especially so he can be a "really quick, fast nose (tackle)."