Cody Brown (Getty)
Although LB Cody Brown was expected to experience a gradual learning curve during his rookie campaign, the pass-rushing specialist from Connecticut had the potential to introduce a new aspect to the Arizona Cardinals’ defense. With Brown suffering a season-ending wrist injury, those plans have changed and a host of veterans will be counted on to pick up the slack.
While the news of LB Cody Brown’s season-ending wrist injury is unwelcoming, it’s not a devastating loss due to the amount of depth the Arizona Cardinals’ posses at the outside linebacker position. Veterans Chike Okeafor, Clark Haggans and Bertrand Berry are all proven commodities that will be counted on to help fill the void. Brown was expected to breathe life into the Cardinals’ pass-rushing unit, but the team will now search elsewhere to accomplish that feat.
The timing of Brown’s injury was unfortunate given his relatively short tenure in the league but it allows defensive coordinator Bill Davis ample time to develop schemes and formations to best utilize Arizona’s healthy weapons on defense. Haggans was already penciled in as the opening-day starter but there was a chance Brown would assume the starting duties at some point this season. Furthermore, utilizing Brown as a pass-rushing specialist would have been a valuable proposition in Davis’ first year as defensive coordinator.
One possible scenario of replacing Brown involves another rookie linebacker. LB Will Davis has an outside chance of assuming Brown’s role in the upcoming season in large part because he possesses many similar characteristics. Like Brown, Davis primarily played defensive end during his college career at Illinois but is making the transition to the outside linebacker position in the NFL. Davis demonstrates an adequate burst of speed off the edge and could end up being used in place of Brown.
In addition to the other linebackers on the roster, the defensive line could also help make up for Brown’s absence. That scenario looks very possible given the Cardinals’ performance in last week’s preseason game against the San Diego Chargers. Arizona’s first-team defense racked up four sacks in the initial quarter of play with three of those sacks coming from the trenches. Darnell Dockett, Bryan Robinson and Calais Campbell each recorded one sack while LB Karlos Dansby notched the other.
Brown will certainly be missed during the 2009 campaign but the injury could prove to be a blessing in disguise. Brown will have an entire season to learn the Cardinals’ defensive schemes and will avoid the pressure of being a first-year player in the league. Furthermore, it provides Brown with a chance to focus on developing his off-field performance in order to help avoid problems in the future.
Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at firstname.lastname@example.org
or click here to access the AZRedReport.com message boards.