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Walker's Time Is Now

Posted Aug 20, 2012

Notebook: Linebacker earning more snaps; Toler working on knee issues

Linebacker Reggie Walker celebrates making a play against Oakland last week.

FLAGSTAFF – Reggie Walker walked the walk Friday night.

After lobbying coach Ken Whisenhunt for more playing time against Kansas City, the linebacker was given his chance but he missed a tackle that even coaches told him he makes “nine times out of 10.” Last week, leading up to the Oakland game, Whisenhunt’s theme for training camp became “don’t tell me about it, show me about it.”

With three tackles, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry, Walker did just that.

“I just have to know that I have to make the play,” Walker said. “I know I can make the plays. It’s just one of those things.”

Walker said he talked to Whisenhunt just once about playing more but after Friday’s performance, he plans on bringing up the topic again.

In his fourth year with the Cardinals, Walker believes he’s still two years away from where he wants to be but kept most of his goals to himself Monday. The one he shared? He wants to be a starter.

Whisenhunt praised Walker’s camp thus far, with one day left in Flagstaff, and said the linebacker “made great strides” against the Raiders. Walker entered camp disappointed in his 2011 season but vowed to prove himself this camp more than others in the past.

“I think I was really complacent,” he said. “I just don’t want everyone to think that I’m just a good special teams player, because I can play defense.”

SLOW ROAD BACK

First it was Greg Toler’s left knee, then his right and now his left again.

Entering training camp, Toler was expected to challenge William Gay for the starting right corner back position but a slew of setbacks have left Toler just hoping he plays Thursday at Tennessee.

Toler missed all of 2011 after tearing his left ACL last preseason. He returned to the field for six practices during OTAs earlier this summer and then took part in full practices when training camp started in July. He said the strain of overcompensating for his left knee caused his right knee soreness and he recently has issues with his left knee compensating for the right.

“I don’t think it was too fast, but at the same time, I jumped right into it from six plays to (a full practice),” Toler said.

EARLY TO THE PARTY

Amid the injuries and quarterback questions during training camp, wide receiver Early Doucet has been flying under the radar.

“He’s had a good camp – solid but quiet camp,” Whisenhunt said.

Doucet has been starting at the Z position and caught Whisenhunt’s eye with two catches for 18 yards Friday against the Raiders.

“That’s what Early does,” Whisenhunt said. “Early is an important part of this team. He’s made a lot of big plays for us over the last couple years and he’s a good special teamer. He’s an unselfish player. As far as in the rotation as a receiver I really have a lot of respect for him.”


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