Arizona Cardinals fans are abuzz with news that Josh Rosen has been named the starting quarterback (officially) after a week 3 loss to the Chicago Bears. It was bound to happen at some point this season and with the team off to an 0-3 start and veteran Sam Bradford not showing much promise, now was as good of a time as any.
But the problems don’t figure to be automatically corrected with Rosen now in the starting lineup. Changes on both sides of the ball could still be made to help improve this team.
For example, this past Sunday, Deone Bucannon and Haason Reddick — both former first round picks of the Cardinals — saw very little action with defensive snaps. Reddick had a mere 4 snaps, while Bucannon saw a whole one snap on defense.
Honestly, it isn’t that surprising. We all saw the liability Bucannon was as a linebacker in this team’s new defense under Steve Wilks in week one against the Washington Redskins.
But I don’t want to count Bucannon as a lost cause just yet. He is a talented and athletic player that has shown he belongs on an NFL field in the past. He’s a sure tackler that can make plays in space or in the hole.
So, since we are trying new things and making adjustments to try and win ball games, why not try this crazy idea: put Bucannon back where he belongs — as a safety.
Buc was always a misfit as a linebacker. The guy practically invented a whole new position as a “$ backer” when a rash of injuries necessitated his playing in the box full time. Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles were successful in masking his lack of size and strength and making him into a linebacker that was as quick as any out there going from sideline to sideline. He was a tackling machine, so to speak.
But after some injuries and Bucannon almost being forced to put on more weight, he just doesn’t look like the same player anymore. Who knows the real reason we have seen this decline from him, but when you go from a starter playing essentially every snap to being one snap shy of a DNP on defense, it goes beyond just the defensive scheme.
Shedding some of the unnecessary muscle and weight that Bucannon has put on the past couple of years would be a great start. Let him lean out again, allowing him to move faster and play laterally like he once did. He may get eaten alive by an offensive lineman from time to time, but it’s not like all the weight he has added has really changed that.
The next move I would make would be to change him back to his original position. I was never a fan of making him a linebacker full time to begin with. Tre Boston, after being hailed as a steal when the Cardinals signed him this off-season, hasn’t done much to impress me outside of a diving interception against the Bears. Bucannon may present an immediate upgrade over Boston and form a dangerous safety trio between him, Antoine Bethea and rising star Budda Baker.
With a thinner frame and less time around the line of scrimmage, I truly believe we could see a revitalized Bucannon. And at this point, what do you really have to lose? This is a rebuilding season for the whole team as it is and if it doesn’t work out, he is a free agent at the end of the year and you let him walk.
What do you think, fans? There has to be a way to salvage what was once a highly productive first round pick, right?