The intensity shot from Deone Bucannon's eyes on Wednesday afternoon, even in the laid-back setting of the Cardinals' locker room.
It has been a rough three weeks for the Cardinals fifth-year linebacker, who was supposed to be a key cog defensively but has instead watched his playing time dwindle in successive games.
Bucannon struggled in his full-time role in the opener against the Redskins, played only on passing downs against the Rams and then saw a lone defensive snap in Sunday's 16-14 loss to the Bears. Bucannon is one of the most competitive players on the team, and the relegation has been gnawing at him.
"Of course it's tough," Bucannon said. "People know the passion I have for this game. It's hard to balance that. It's hard to not just throw all your emotions out there. But at the same time, it ain't nothing about myself. At the end of the day, I want us to win. If you put an option out there for me to not get one snap on this team, but we go undefeated from here on out, I'm taking me sitting my butt down on the bench and us winning every game."
The Cardinals face the Seahawks and their mobile quarterback, Russell Wilson, on Sunday. Bucannon has athleticism that would seem to match up well against Wilson, but coach Steve Wilks said on Monday he needs to trust his players to execute.
Already a player with an impressive work ethic, Bucannon has pledged to work out longer and study harder to get back in the good graces of the coaching staff.
"I'm going to do everything I can to get on the field," Bucannon said. "I love this game. I love being out there."
Haason Reddick is another Cardinals' linebacker with pedigree – he was the team's first-round pick in 2017 – who is having trouble finding a role. Reddick, who was a projected starter with Bucannon in training camp, is playing in specialized packages, mostly in clear passing situations.
"I'm just patiently waiting for my turn, and once it comes, I have to make the best out of it," Reddick said.
While Bucannon and Reddick certainly want more playing time, they are not causing friction. Bucannon said it's important to keep things in perspective.
"Thousands and thousands of people wish they could be in my position," Bucannon said. "I don't take it for granted."
NKEMDICHE, PETERS DON'T PRACTICE
Defensive tackles Robert Nkemdiche and Corey Peters didn't practice after suffering knee and elbow injuries, respectively, against the Bears. Wilks said the issues were minor. Right tackle Andre Smith (elbow) also missed practice. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) didn't practice because Wilks wanted to give him an extra day of recovery.
Defensive tackle Olsen Pierre, who has missed the past two games with a toe injury, was limited, as were quarterback Sam Bradford (pectoral), safety Rudy Ford (ankle), linebacker Dennis Gardeck (ankle), defensive end Markus Golden (knee), tight end Jermaine Gresham (Achilles), defensive end Benson Mayowa (ankle) and wide receiver Chad Williams (illness).
Those who didn't practice for the Seahawks were linebacker K.J. Wright (knee), defensive end Dion Jordan (hip), defensive end Rasheem Green (ankle), guard Ethan Pocic (ankle), running back C.J. Prosise (abdomen) and safety Earl Thomas (not injury related). Wide receiver Doug Baldwin (knee), running back Chris Carson (hip), safety Delano Hill (hamstring) and linebacker Bobby Wagner (groin) were limited.
DEFENSIVE END ADDED TO PRACTICE SQUAD
The Cardinals signed defensive end Ufomba Kamalu to their practice squad on Tuesday. He has three sacks in 13 career games. Kamalu played in nine games last season with the Texans. He was released by Houston at the end of the preseason. The Cardinals released defensive end Alec James from the practice squad to make room.
Images of the Cardinals cheerleaders during the Week 3 matchup against Chicago