Offseason gains and losses: Defense

July, 23, 2014
7/23/14
4:00
PM ET
Change is inevitable in the NFL but most teams often don't replace what they lost.

Such as is the case with the Arizona Cardinals' defense.

Arizona lost three starters and a combined 270 tackles, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Linebacker Daryl Washington, a Pro Bowl alternate in 2013, was lost for the season due to a suspension. Linebacker Karlos Dansby, who had a Pro Bowl-esque season, signed with Cleveland. And safety Yeremiah Bell wasn't re-signed in free agency. They were Arizona's top three tacklers last season.

Losing Washington, who had 75 tackles in 12 games, and Dansby will hurt Arizona's defense. Washington had the size and speed to play sideline-to-sideline. Dansby's instincts and refined physique were on display in his return to Arizona. To help replace last year's starters, Arizona signed Larry Foote, who missed all but one game due to injury, and Ernie Sims, who also played a fill-in role for 12 games in Dallas.

Bell's experience will be missed in the secondary but his size and speed won't be. He had trouble matching up with taller tight ends and his speed, at 35, diminished with age.

Rookie Deone Bucannon will shoulder the responsibility of replacing Bell. As an All-American at Washington State, Bucannon's production increased in all four of his seasons. He finished his career with 286 tackles and 15 interceptions.

Arizona also parted ways with Jasper Brinkley, Antoine Cason and Ronald Talley, all of whom had sporadic starting roles but were primarily backups.

In addition to Foote, Sims and Bucannon, Arizona either signed or drafted cornerback Antonio Cromartie, defensive end Kareem Martin and defensive end Ed Stinson during this past offseason. Other defensive players were signed but in all likelihood, they won't make it out of camp.


Josh Weinfuss

ESPN Arizona Cardinals reporter

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