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Cardinals Thankful Krys Barnes Ready To Step In

After first career interception, veteran set to help in White absence

Linebacker Krys Barnes returns an interception against the Texans on Sunday.
Linebacker Krys Barnes returns an interception against the Texans on Sunday.

The fastest ball carrier in the Cardinals' game against the Texans wasn't Kyler Murray or any of the speedy running backs or wide receivers.

According to Next Gen Stats, it was linebacker Krys Barnes, who intercepted C.J. Stroud in the red zone, sprinting down the sidelines at 20.64 miles per hour.

"I shocked myself there a little bit, I'm not going to lie," Barnes said. "It was a good play, good momentum. As soon as it opened up, I tried to see how much I could get and get what I can and give the ball back to Kyler."

The interception and 46-yard return was the first of Barnes' four-year career. It was the second of Stroud's three interceptions, although the Cardinals weren't able to score off of any of them in a loss.

The result of the game hurt the Cardinals' record, but there was a bigger loss. Linebacker Kyzir White tore his biceps in the second quarter, landing him on Injured Reserve for the remainder of the season. 

With White sidelined, Barnes will get more snaps alongside linebacker Josh Woods.

"Krys is always locked in," Woods said. "He prepares as if he was the starter, as if he was getting all of the reps. He's a really good football player, we knew that coming in."

Woods and Barnes competed with each other during training camp after they both joined the roster during the offseason for the inside spot next to White. Woods won the job, but now he will take over White's role of being the green dot calling the defensive signals, and Barnes will step into Woods' role.

Fortunately for the Cardinals, Barnes, who joined the team as a free agent in March, is confident in his experience.

"I've studied both positions, Mike and Will, since I first came in here and that's something we all do no matter who it is," Barnes said. "We all seek to be a starter, so if one of us was to go down, we're all prepared for that role.

"For me, it's just to continue to do what I've been doing, harp on the details and continue to do my 1/11th and let my play speak for itself."

On Sunday, the play spoke loud and proud. Barnes finished with the aforementioned interception, three tackles, and two pass deflections. A performance like that doesn't come as a shock to defensive coordinator Nick Rallis.

In his eyes, this is exactly what he expects from Barnes.

"Krys prepares as detailed as anybody," Rallis said. "He prepares mental reps when he doesn't get the reps. The reps that he does get, he maximizes in practice.

"He made some plays, so I was very pleased with that, and I'm not surprised that that was the result with how he prepares on a week-to-week basis."

Woods and Barnes have formed a good friendship, with Woods mentioning how happy he was for his teammate to secure his first career interception. "Krys' character never wavered," Woods said.

Barnes hopes it's the first of many more to come, with wins to come along the way.

"It's been a great unit here and great opportunity to be able to be here," Barnes said. "The record doesn't show where we want to be right now, but I think we're all heading in the right direction."