Cardinals: Rookie LBs Take Center Stage

Bruce Yeung (Yeung Photography)

Rookie linebackers Daryl Washington and O'Brien Schofield are expected to start Saturday against Dallas.

The Cardinals likely will be starting two rookies at linebacker Sunday against the Cowboys.

Outside linebacker Joey Porter suffered a strained right triceps in last week's game and is missing practice time this week. That means O'Brien Schofield, a fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin, could make his first start.

Inside linebacker Daryl Washington, the second-round pick, has started nine games this season, including the last two.

Porter has been a disappointment in his first season with the team. He hasn't provided a consistent pass rush, collecting only five sacks.

But the Cardinals have little depth at the position, which makes Porter's injury more damaging.

Schofield is the team's brightest prospect as a pass rusher, but there is no one behind who has played much.

The only other healthy outside linebacker is Cyril Obiozor, who has played the three weeks on special teams. He will be the main backup.

At least the Cardinals will get an extended look at Schofield, who missed the first six games of the season while on the non-football injury list.

Schofield suffered a torn ACL in a practice before the Senior Bowl last January. The Cardinals drafted Schofield with the realistic expectation that he wouldn't contribute much until 2011, when he would be 1 1/2 years out from knee surgery.

Schofield showed great pass-rushing skills in college at Wisconsin. He had 12 sacks as a senior and was expected to be at least a second-round pick.

But the knee injury changed all that, and the Cardinals think they got a steal by taking him in the fourth round. In the last two games, they might get a chance to see if they were right.

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