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Bené Benwikere Pushing For Starting Cornerback Role

CB Bené Benwikere breaks up a pass against the Bears.
CB Bené Benwikere breaks up a pass against the Bears.

Quarterback Josh Rosen may not be the only new starter in Sunday’s game against the Seahawks.

Reserve cornerback Bené Benwikere took over for Jamar Taylor near the end of the Cardinals’ Week 3 loss to the Bears, and the pair will spend the week splitting snaps with the first-team defense in practice. Coach Steve Wilks said he will decide on the starter at the end of the week.

“The one thing I’m going to continue to try to do is create competition throughout (the roster),” Wilks said.

Benwikere had an increased role against Chicago, playing 34 snaps. He was the sixth defensive back in dime packages and then took over for Taylor as the No. 2 cornerback down the stretch. He finished the game with three tackles, including a half-sack on a blitz, as well as a pass defensed.

“I am happy with him,” Wilks said. “I think he’s been doing a tremendous job.”

Taylor had four tackles in the game -- including an impressive takedown of Bears running back Tarik Cohen to save a touchdown -- but has struggled in coverage at times and has been penalized periodically through the first three weeks. 

Taylor was acquired this offseason from the Browns for a sixth-round pick in 2020. Benwikere was signed in free agency in March.

LIMITED PLAYING TIME FOR BUCANNON, REDDICK

Linebackers Deone Bucannon and Haason Reddick, a pair of former first-round picks, entered training camp as starters but barely played against Chicago.

Reddick saw four snaps on defense, while Bucannon only played one. Bucannon played full-time in the opener, was replaced by Gerald Hodges in the base defense in Week 2 and was replaced by Benwikere in subpackages on Sunday.

Wilks has reiterated several times in recent weeks that draft status doesn’t guarantee playing time. He said Reddick and Bucannon need to prove they can be counted on in order to get back in the defensive rotation.

“The one word I use all the time is trust,” Wilks said. “I want to be able to put guys out on the field that I trust, that are going to be able to execute and do the things we ask them to do. That’s where it starts.”

CARDINALS CLAIM DEFENSIVE END

The Cardinals added defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo on waivers from the Browns. Odenigbo was a seventh-round pick of the Vikings in 2017. Odenigbo, who had 10 sacks in his senior season at Northwestern, spent last year on the Vikings’ practice squad and was claimed on waivers by the Browns at the end of the preseason.

The team released defensive end Jacquies Smith to make room on the roster.

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