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The Impact Of Losing Budda Baker

Safety reportedly dealing with high-ankle sprain

The news came out Monday evening, a tweet from Ian Rapoport saying Cardinals safety Budda Baker was going to miss a few games with a high ankle sprain. We will see what Kliff Kingsbury has to say Wednesday about the situation -- the Cardinals are again scheduled only for a Wednesday walkthrough, so there will be no open portion for the media -- but even if Baker were to miss just Sunday against the Rams, it's a blow.

Baker has been an All-Pro. But what he brings to the field is known. What he brings elsewhere, to leadership, to the locker room, is as crucial. (As everyone sees.) It's not as if Baker is suddenly going to disappear, but some impact is naturally lost when players can't play.

On the field, there are decisions to make. The Cardinals only have two other safeties on the active roster (Jalen Thompson and Chris Banjo). Charles Washington remains on IR. I would guess that Isaiah Simmons' role would become more safety-heavy in the meantime, especially with all the other linebackers available. Simmons has played the most snaps this season as a slot corner (193 of 415) and only nine snaps at safety.

However DC Vance Joseph adjusts, it won't be the same as having Baker on the field. Defensively, the Cardinals haven't been able to get stops late in the last two games. How can they handle that without having arguably their best player?

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (3) during the 2022 regular season game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022 in Glendale, AZ.