It’s almost Thanksgiving, and you know what that means if you’re a rookie playing for coach Bruce Arians and the Cardinals. “Rookies around Thanksgiving and the middle and first of November,” Arians said this week, “they shouldn’t be rookies anymore.” Are you listening, Budda Baker? It’s not as if the season depends on it or anything, but the Cardinals (4-5) just had to place three more players on season-ending injured reserve. And one of them – strong safety Tyvon Branch, who was enjoying a Pro Bowl-type year – just happened to be the starter at the very position where you have been the green-back understudy. It’s time to shed your “rookie” label and become an accountable, real-time “NFL player” who is capable of making some big plays Sunday in Houston against the struggling Texans (3-6), losers of three straight games. “I’ll definitely be ready,” said Baker, Arizona’s second-round pick this year out of Washington. “I’ve still got all the veterans around to help me out and I’ll have a week’s worth of preparation and hopefully, I’ll have a great game.” He'd better or this season is going to turn from a major disappointment into a disaster, which can alter rosters and change lives. Nothing like a little bit of pressure as the Cardinals head for Houston, but if flashy receiver DeAndre Hopkins breaks free in the secondary after a catch or running back Lamar Miller busts a potential long run, Baker needs to be there to bring them down.
Arizona Cardinals' Budda Baker can't play like a rookie against Houston Texans
Arizona Central | Nov 18