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The (loss of) Markus Golden effect

Earlier in the week, Bruce Arians noted that the loss of Markus Golden went beyond the field, that losing him "takes a lot of the spirit out of the defense." That's understandable. There are always certain guys every year that are the emotional bellweather of a team or a side of the ball. Tyrann Mathieu was that guy in 2015, which is one reason why things got sideways after his ACL injury.

Golden radiates that energy. It's cliche to talk about a "motor" but that's just a tangible name to give to what emanates from some players. Players like Golden. I always found it interesting to talk to Markus in terms of motivation, like in camp when I asked him about the idea of getting into a season that could be the last for guys like Fitz and Palmer. He said that'd be good, but he was looking to win a title not for those guys but for himself and the team. There aren't many sidestreets for Golden when it comes to football. There's one highway to race down, and that's about going 100 percent all the time and hopefully having it mean a win.

That's the spirit that Arians spoke about. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher said he wasn't concerned about it. "But certainly aware," Bettcher added.

"It's something that, when you have guys like that who run around, who chase balls from the backside, or jump on pile guys, guys that play with such a high energy or high motor, when you lose a guy like that, you are aware of that," Bettcher said. "The challenge is for other guys to assume that identity, for other guys, whether it be Kareem (Martin) or Haason (Reddick) on the field, they need to play with their hair on fire."

Having the next guy play hard is one thing. But to be driven like Golden is, to me that's a personality trait and not something that can be learned. You are or are not, to paraphrase Yoda. So we will see what the defense is or is not now that Golden isn't around.