There has been a common misconception from Arizona Cardinals fans.
When Tyrann Mathieu was cut following his unwillingness to restructure to his contract, the fanbase went with the idea of, it is fine they have Budda Baker in place.
Here’s the issue, Tyrann Mathieu played 1,052 snaps last year, 696 were played in the slot as a cornerback, or 66% of his snaps.
Enter the replacement, Budda Baker. Baker played 513 snaps on defnese, only 80 were played in the slot position, only 15%.
Baker and Mathieu are different players who played different positions and had different responsibilities on defense.
It’s not only wrong, but it would be unfair to expect Baker to take over a role he’s never had before, a slot cornerback, and play it at a level that Mathieu did.
Moreover, it is now a new defense a new scheme and a chance to go forward.
Budda and Badger fed off each other on the field. Baker was allowed to play aggressively within the defense and sometimes outside of the scheme because of players like Mathieu. Now, he’ll have to step up and continue to progress without one of his mentors on the team. And it won’t be filling the shoes Mathieu had,despite what fans may say.