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Alexander ready to compete at ILB

4/2/2014

When the Arizona Cardinals training camp convenes in late July, Lorenzo Alexander will be fighting for a job. But that doesn’t bother the seven-year veteran.

Last year’s starting left outside linebacker until he suffered a Lisfranc injury in Week 3, Alexander was replaced by John Abraham, who had a Pro Bowl season with 11.5 sacks. With Abraham likely to retain his starting role on the left side, Alexander will compete with second-year linebacker Kevin Minter for the inside role vacated when Karlos Dansby left in free agency.

Two weeks ago, after the Cardinals signed veteran cornerback Antonio Cromartie, general manager Steve Keim said Minter will be Dansby’s replacement. But Keim qualified it as just an audition, which left the door open for Alexander.

“We drafted Kevin. Obviously we believe in what he’s able to do, and I’m hopeful that he’ll continue to develop as a player,” Alexander said. “But as far as me, I’m out here trying to get it, too. I think it’s going to be a great competition.

“I really like this coaching staff and this front office, because they’re going to put the best player out there, not who got drafted higher, not who makes more money, not who’s older or who has more experience. They’re going to put the guy that’s going to make more plays and help this team win. I’m confident that I’m going to go in there and it’s going to be an open competition and whoever wins, wins, and the other guy finds other ways to help this team win on special teams.”

Alexander, who believes he’ll be used in different ways around the defense this year, said he’ll still compete with Abraham for outside linebacker but he’ll primarily focus on that inside spot alongside Daryl Washington.

Alexander estimates he has about three years worth of experience at inside linebacker from his time in Washington. Throughout his seven-year career, he’s played all over the field, including guard, tight end, full back, defensive tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker and, yes, inside linebacker.

“I’ve been all over the place,” Alexander said. “I don’t have a lot of experience at any one spot. You know, jack of all trades, master of some. And special teams has kinda been my main stage as far as being a Pro Bowl player, but being behind Fletch (former Washington linebacker London Fletcher) for three years, playing behind him and getting some reps in preseason, as well as in games when he got nicked up, really gave me some live-game experience.

“I’m ready to play. I’ve done it and done it well. It’s all about giving a guy an opportunity. I’m excited to see where it may lead to.”