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Cardinals continue counting on Campbell

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Dan Arkush

darkush@pfwmedia.com
Executive editor

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Posted Dec. 21, 2012 @ 11:52 a.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

While rumors swirl that the days could be numbered for longtime Cardinals defenders such as SS Adrian Wilson and DT Darnell Dockett, we hear the star status of DE Calais Campbell has never shined so brightly.

Having been a bit limited in the Week 14 catastrophe in Seattle after missing three games with a calf injury, Campbell was an unstoppable beast in the Week 15 victory over Detroit, registering a sack and eight tackles, including four for loss. While his numbers weren’t nearly as imposing before his injury, daily team observers considered performances like Campbell’s overpowering effort vs. the Lions pretty much par for the course.

“When he’s been at full strength, he’s played at a Pro Bowl level,” one daily Campbell observer said. “He’s been really good. He’s always been a good pass rusher, but he has also really improved against the run this year. He’s been far and away the team’s best D-lineman.”

While the team’s front-office moves, or lack thereof, have been subject to increased criticism in the desert lately, two moves that most team insiders agree made a ton of sense were the contract extensions given to Campbell and fellow defensive cornerstone ILB Daryl Washington through the 2016 and ’17 seasons, respectively.

“They look really smart for doing that,” the source said. “Campbell is in his fifth year and is only 26. And he’s just a great guy, big in the community. He’s been a dream come true.”

Not nearly as becoming, though, is the depth at end behind Campbell. Unlike the case when Campbell was waiting in the wings behind Antonio Smith, there is nobody on the roster with what would be considered heir-apparent potential.

“They need to address the position,” the source said. “David Carter has been swinging back and forth between tackle and end, and there are questions about him in a starting role. The other backups, Vonnie Holliday and Nick Eason, are well over 30. They don’t have a guy they’d really be willing to plug in for Campbell if need be.”

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