Cardinals Losing Their Mind At Linebacker

LB Josh Bynes will no longer be in the middle of the defense after a season-ending thumb injury
LB Josh Bynes will no longer be in the middle of the defense after a season-ending thumb injury

The Cardinals are low on bodies at linebacker, but the biggest loss may be an absent mind.

Josh Bynes was placed on injured reserve Monday with a thumb injury, and his exit is significant because the veteran middle linebacker was the chief communicator on defense. Gerald Hodges will take over that role and hopes to make the transition a smooth one.

“The most important factor is getting everybody lined up, making the right checks and allowing everyone to play fast,” Hodges said. “If I can do that, I know everyone will execute their job.”

The Cardinals hope Bynes will be the only linebacker absent on Sunday against the Packers, but that’s no guarantee as fellow starters Haason Reddick (neck) and Deone Bucannon (chest) missed practice on Wednesday. If they can’t play, the Cardinals may have to turn undrafted rookies Zeke Turner and Dennis Gardeck.

Coach Steve Wilks said attrition is a reality for every team at this point in the season.

“Those other guys are doing a great job as well,” Wilks said. “(Linebackers coach) Larry (Foote) is doing a great job working with them and getting them ready.”

Hodges said the linebacker duties may be simplified if the younger players are needed, but he won’t be on babysitting duty every play.

“I might pull them to the side if I see something, but for the most part, I try not to talk to them too much,” Hodges said. “They know what they’re doing. Zeke, Dennis and Haason, those guys are young, but they study hard. … I’ll get them lined up, get them set up, and they can go play fast from there.”

BUDDA BAKER RETURNS TO PRACTICE

Budda Baker went through a workout before Sunday’s game against the Chargers but was eventually ruled out for a second straight week because of his knee injury. The second-year safety returned to practice on Wednesday and is hoping to get back on the field against Green Bay.

“I was just excited I was back,” Baker said. “It didn’t matter if we were 9-2 or 0-11, 0-12. It was another opportunity to play the game I love.”

The Cardinals’ pass defense did not fare well against the Chargers on Sunday without Baker, as Philip Rivers set an NFL record by completing his first 25 passes. Next up is Aaron Rodgers.

“He can make any throw at any position,” Baker said. “Falling back, he can make any type of throw. His back shoulder is crazy. Perfect pass almost every single time. It’s going to be really cool going against him.”

Baker was listed as limited on the injury report, as were safety Rudy Ford (heel), left tackle D.J. Humphries (knee), defensive tackle Corey Peters (back), guard Jeremy Vujnovich (hamstring) and wide receiver Chad Williams (ankle). Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had a veteran’s day off.

Eight Packers didn’t practice Wednesday: tackle David Bakhtiari (knee), cornerback Bashaud Breeland (groin), safety Kentrell Brice (ankle/concussion), running back Tra Carson (rib), defensive end Mike Daniels (foot), wide receiver Trevor Davis (hamstring), tight end Jimmy Graham (knee/thumb) and safety Raven Greene (ankle). Those limited were wideout Randall Cobb (hamstring), cornerback Kevin King (hamstring), wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (elbow) and guard Lane Taylor (quadriceps).

Rodgers (knee) was a full participant.

CARDINALS ADD DEFENSIVE END

Cameron Malveaux was signed off the Dolphins’ practice squad. The second-year defensive end has 11 tackles and a sack in nine career games. He signed with Miami as an undrafted rookie out of Houston.

The Cardinals also added linebacker Thurston Armbrister to the practice squad.

Images of the Cardinals at Phoenix Children's Hospital as they celebrated all the patients with birthdays in November

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