Linebackers Sam Acho (left, sacking Drew Brees) and Lorenzo Alexander both suffered season-ending injuries Sunday.
SARASOTA, FLA. – Lorenzo Alexander started to choke up.
The veteran linebacker wasn't tearing because of his season-ending Lis Franc injury suffered in New Orleans Sunday, but instead the thought of the much more difficult situation of teammate Dan Williams, who lost his father in a car accident last week.
"I've never had to miss a season, so this is a temporary setback for me," Alexander said.
"There's no reason to be sad or be down, especially with the situation when Dan loses his Dad, it puts things in perspective that this is temporary."
The Cardinals were also trying to keep things in perspective football-wise, after a bad 31-7 loss to the Saints the day
before and the aftermath that included a pair of season-ending injuries. Not only is Alexander done, but so too is fellow starting outside linebacker Sam Acho, who broke his leg.
Alexander and Acho were placed on injured reserve. Outside linebacker Dontay Moch, who had been on the practice squad and was a 2011 third-round draft pick of the Bengals, was promoted to the active roster. The Cardinals also have fourth-round draft pick Alex Okafor available to play on the outside and veterans John Abraham and Matt Shaughnessy, but in every case most would be considered pass rushers first.
Where the Cardinals go from here scheme-wise will be interesting. Daryl Washington does return after this week from his suspension – the Cardinals may not fill their one open roster spot this week because it will be needed for Washington – but he plays on the inside, coach Bruce Arians said.
"Obviously (Alexander and Acho) are core people," Arians said. "Their energy will be missed as much as their play.
"I think it's a matter of going to practice and taking care of business the next day. Injuries happen. No one plays with the same 22 guys all the time. You hate for them to happen at the same position but that's usually what happens. You just have to take the next guy, see what happens, bring a guy in if need be, and give them an opportunity."
Arians said both Alexander and Acho were having good games Sunday. Acho got his first – and what turned out to be only – sack of the season. Alexander, who also is a key member of the Cardinals' special teams corps, was covering Saints tight end Jimmy Graham and planted to make a tackle when his foot gave out.
Alexander, who has never been on IR, said he knows some long-term injured players "go ghost" and disappear from the team. He told the coaching staff he will be around to help.
"But I know they brought me in for more than just football," Alexander said, offering to coach young players at either linebacker or special teams.
"Like coach always says, next man up," cornerback Patrick Peterson said. "Unfortunately we lose both those guys for the end of the season but that's why you go through training camp trying to find the best 53. We won't lose a beat from those guys' backups. It's a tough loss for the team and the defense, but we have to move forward."