AuburnFamilyNews.com: New Arizona coach says Josh Bynes has ability to become Cardinals' Mike

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

New Arizona coach says Josh Bynes has ability to become Cardinals' Mike


The Arizona Cardinals are changing their defensive scheme in 2018, switching from a base 3-4 to a 4-3. That means one fewer linebacker in the starting lineup, yet the change opened an opportunity for former Auburn standout Josh Bynes to join Arizona's regulars at linebacker.
How's that possible?
Steve Wilks, the Cardinals' new coach, is making the change, shifting to the scheme he used at his previous stop as the defensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers.
Wilks plans to turn outside linebackers Chandler Jones and Markus Golden into defensive ends in Arizona's new defense.
The Cardinals' starting inside linebackers last season were former Woodlawn High and Auburn standout Karlos Dansby and Deone Bucannon. At age 36, Dansby remains unsigned as a free agent. A converted safety, Bucannon played a position dubbed moneybacker in Arizona's former setup and might not have the heft to handle middle linebacker in a 4-3 lineup.
In seven NFL seasons, Bynes has started 29 games, including one last season for the Cardinals. But at this point in the offseason, he's the leading candidate to step into the middle and direct the Arizona defense in 2018.
At a press conference on Tuesday during the second week of the Cardinals' offseason program, Wilks was asked what made him think that Bynes could be Arizona's Mike linebacker.
"When you look at the things I've been a part of, he has that speed," Wilks said, "and you can't have enough speed at that position. That's what this defense is going to be made of -- guys that can run, guys that are physical, and he has that, that ability to run sideline to sideline. And I love his physicality as far as playing downhill.
"We're going to see exactly what he can do. With every position on this team, it's open for competition. Guys are going to compete, and when it's all said and done, the best 11 guys will be out there playing."
Jones led the NFL with 17 sacks last season. Golden had 12.5 sacks in 2016 before a torn ACL limited him to four games last season.
"I took a look at our personnel, and when you start talking about Chandler Jones, Markus Golden, those guys right now to me are most effective when they're going forward, when they're going towards the quarterback," Wilks said. "In a 3-4 scheme, a lot of times, one of those guys is going to be dropping, and to me, you want that athleticism, that kind of skill set, attacking and getting after the quarterback.
"In my history, in my past, the guys that we've had have done a tremendous job, and I see those guys as having that same skill set, to be able to be effective on the quarterback. So I'm excited about what we're trying to do, pretty much the transition we're trying to make from the 3-4 to the 4-3."
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The Cardinals made sure Bynes was around for the transition by signing him to a three-year contract as he entered free agency last month. According to the sports financial website spotrac.com, Bynes' contract has a value of $5,575,000, including a $1 million signing bonus. Bynes also collected a $161,875 roster bonus. The contract contained $1,250,000 in guaranteed money and has a base salary of $790,000 for 2018.
Bynes is coming off his first season with Arizona. He played 234 defensive snaps and 278 special-teams plays in 14 games in 2017. Bynes led the Cardinals in tackles in the two games when he received his most extensive defensive playing time and recorded the second interception and first full sack of his NFL career last season.
Bynes was the leading tackler for Auburn's 2010 BCS national championship team.
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.


from Auburn Sports Impact http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2018/04/new_arizona_coach_says_josh_by.html

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