Defensive lineman David Carter comes out during introductions this past weekend before the Lions' game.
The Cardinals know who to call when a starting defensive lineman goes down.
Within the last five weeks, he's established himself as a viable replacement at all three positions on the defensive line. Against Atlanta and St. Louis, Carter started in place of Calais Campbell at defensive end. Two weeks later in Seattle, he replaced Darnell Dockett at defensive tackle and last week against the Detroit Lions, Carter filled in for an injured Dan Williams at nose tackle. He's stepped up in the second half of the season but Carter hasn't always been so versatile. Coming out of UCLA he was a nose tackle and the idea of playing on the ends was a daunting nightmare.
"At first, I was like, 'Man, it's so different playing end from nose,'" Carter said. "And now it's all the same. Same mindset of get off the ball, hand speed. It's easy from there."
Eight of Carter's 13 tackles have come in games he's started, including a career-high five at Seattle.
Cardinals' coaches started moving him around the line after they noticed he was faster than the average nose tackle. And despite a reluctance to embrace his versatility, Carter has realized "the more you can do" – a mantra oft repeated around NFL locker rooms – are words to live by.
"It makes me a more valuable player being able to play nose, left end and right end because some people can't play left end and some people can't play right end," Carter said. "I can play both and I can play nose."
WALKER SEES OPPORTUNITY
Reggie Walker may not have to lobby for playing time anymore.
The fourth-year linebacker played a season-high 51 snaps Sunday after Quentin Groves left the game with a foot injury. Whether Walker plays as much this week will depend on Groves' progress. Groves was limited in practice Wednesday.
"He's doing a good job in the scheme what we're asking of him," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "He's been a very good blessing to be able to fill in at outside linebacker when we've had some issues there with injuries, so kudos to Reggie."
Walker had three tackles and two quarterback hurries Sunday against the Lions but he's not reading much into his increased playing time.
"I always thought the expectations they had of me have always been pretty high," Walker said. "It feels about the same."
LINDLEY NOT FEELING PRESSURE FROM HOYER
Rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley isn't feeling newly acquired quarterback Brian Hoyer breathing down his neck. Hoyer was signed last week after the Cardinals placed Kevin Kolb on injured reserve for the rest of the season.
Carrying three quarterbacks is common for teams around the NFL. Hoyer was inactive Sunday against the Lions. While the calls for Hoyer to play would have been much louder this week had the Cardinals lost, Lindley doesn't feel threatened by the addition of another signal caller.
"It's on me to go out there and perform," Lindley said. "I'm not going to perform any better if they bring in more quarterbacks. You have to go out there and play your game and let the chips fall where they will."
CARDS TRIO MISSES PRACTICE
The Cardinals were without WR Early Doucet (concussion), S Rashad Johnson (hamstring) and S James Sanders (calf) at Wednesday's practice.
Limited were DE Calais Campbell (calf), G Mike Gibson (calf), LB Quentin Groves (foot), TE Rob Housler (knee), T Nate Potter (ankle), FB Anthony Sherman (knee) and DE Ronald Talley (ankle).
Linebacker Brian Urlacher (hamstring) and RT Jonathan Scott (hamstring) did not practice for the Chicago Bears. WR Earl Bennett (concussion), CB Tim Jennings (shoulder) and DT Henry Melton (chest) were limited.