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Sizing Up Switch For Haason Reddick

Posted Oct 5, 2017

Notes: Handful of Cardinals return home to Philly; Watford can step in if Boone not ready

Rookie linebacker Haason Reddick will try to get after the quarterback as an outside linebacker after Markus Golden's injury.

Yes, James Bettcher knows rookie Haason Reddick is smaller for a typical outside linebacker, weighing about 235 pounds.

But the Cardinals defensive coordinator still has confidence Reddick will be fine in that regard. To that end, he talked Thursday about former Colts Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Mathis, whom Bettcher once coached when he was in Indianapolis.

“Robert Mathis, I had him on the scale one time,” Bettcher said. “He was like 212 pounds. He’d probably wrestle with me if I told somebody that, but that’s what he really was – 212 on the scale. But no one could block him, and he could power and bull anyone.

“(Size) doesn’t matter. When you have speed and you have power, you can rush on the edge. Learning how to use the speed and how to use the power will be the next thing for (Reddick.)”

No one is comparing Reddick to Mathis at this point. Reddick was just learning how to play inside linebacker when Markus Golden’s season-ending knee injury changed the plans. Now, Reddick will split time with Kareem Martin as Golden’s replacements.

[READ: THE (LOSS OF) MARKUS GOLDEN EFFECT]

Bettcher said Reddick’s role on the outside will be similar to what they did with him as an inside linebacker – certain packages at first, with an increasing role as time goes on. As for using him inside as well, Bettcher only said “there will be packages where you will see him doing different things.”

That’s fine with Reddick, who has maintained all week he is prepared for whatever happens.

“I was asked to help out there, which I am willing to do,” Reddick said. “How much I’m expected to play or how often I’m there, that I don’t know.”

A PHILLY HOMECOMING

There are a handful of Cardinals who are from the Philadelphia-area. Coach Bruce Arians and General Manager Steve Keim are both from towns less than two hours away. Newly re-signed offensive lineman Earl Watford admitted it was a pleasant coincidence the Cards were going to his hometown in his first game back.

Then there is Reddick, who played in college at Temple, which is in Philadelphia, and hails from Camden, New Jersey, just five miles away.

Reddick said he is expecting a lot of friends and family and fans at the game – “Almost the whole city,” he said with a smile – but admitted he wasn’t sure how he will be greeted.

“The Philadelphia crowd, they are crazy, you never know what you are going to get,” Reddick said. “I’ve seen them boo their own team. I don’t know how they will feel about me. If I make a play I don’t know if I’ll get applause or they will boo me.”

Reddick said he was an Eagles fan as a kid because he was a running back and liked Eagles running back Duce Staley. But when Staley went to the Steelers, Reddick changed alliances for good to the team from Pittsburgh. And now?

“Now I’m an Arizona Cardinal and I’m a fan of us,” Reddick said.

WATFORD READY BUT BOONE POSSIBLE

Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said despite being out of football for a month, newcomer Watford could step into the lineup if needed. Watford would be a logical choice over rookie Will Holden if Alex Boone isn’t ready.

“Earl’s smart,” Goodwin said. “He knows the offense inside and out. I’m comfortable with Earl. I think that sometimes, being on the street motivates you. Makes you hungry.”

Boone is trying to play after hurting his pectoral muscle against Dallas.

There was no change on the injury report for the Cardinals. Tackle D.J. Humphries (knee) and defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche (calf) were the only ones to sit out practice – coach Bruce Arians had already said Humphries was unlikely to play this week.

Boone was limited, as were receiver John Brown (quad), linebacker Josh Bynes (groin), linebacker Karlos Dansby (knee), defensive lineman Josh Mauro (calf) and receiver J.J. Nelson (hamstring/tooth).

For the Eagles, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (calf), cornerback Ronald Darby (ankle) and running back Wendell Smallwood (knee) didn’t practice. Defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao (wrist) was limited.

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