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Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impa

first_img Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Cardinals linebacker Kevin Minter is ready for the snap during training camp Aug. 11. (Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling By all accounts Minter is playing like the player the Cardinals expected when they made him a second-round pick, 45th overall, in the 2013 NFL Draft.“Kevin is a guy that we have high expectations for and so far in camp he has played a high level,” General Manager Steve Keim said this week during his appearance with Doug & Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.That it’s taken Minter until year three to be talked in such high regard shouldn’t be all that surprising, according to Keim. Often a draft pick needs time to develop and mature before contributing in a system, whether offensively or defensively.“Sometimes it takes a little while for the light to come on,” Keim said.For Minter, the play-caller on defense, the light failed to turn on initially because of both opportunity and injury.The opportunity never came in his rookie season — Minter played just one defensive snap — in part because he backed up Karlos Dansby, who excelled in his second go-around with the team.Then injury struck in year two.Minter suffered a torn pectoral muscle in the preseason.  “It ripped off the bone,” he said.Rather than take the time off to heal, Minter opted for the time on the field; and though the injury limited his ability, Minter played in all 16 games –including five starts — and recorded a career-best 49 tackles, one sack, five tackles for a loss and one pass defensed. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Three years removed from being one of the nation’s top linebackers at LSU, Minter admitted it’s taken longer than he expected to enjoy similar success as a professional.“But being around the guys I was around, I was obviously not ready,” he said.  “I just had to learn to be a professional and I did that being behind guys like Karlos and (Larry) Foote, so I think I’m ready.” – / 23 Top Stories “I knew how important that year was for me as far as experience and I knew the team needed me, so I just sucked it up,” he said.“You can’t put a price on experience. It was so helpful as far as just getting acclimated to this game.”And now?  Well, Minter is flying around the field, making plays seemingly every day in camp.“Oh, my god, man, to be out of the strap?  It’s ridiculous. It’s just being able to play free, play like I was, not worrying about.  I don’t even think about it out there, and that’s such a load off,” he said.And without that limitation, he can be himself.“I feel like I can have the season everybody expects me to have, expect myself to have; just being that guy for this defense, being a leader, just being that linebacker in this league,” he said.Of course until Minter can be relied upon to be a consistent performer in the regular season, questions are going to remain.“In his package, when he’s healthy, he’s played really good,” Arians said.  “He played with one arm last year. But in his package — we didn’t bring him here to play dime.  We brought him here for Seattle and San Francisco, to play the run.  And in those games, he and Kenny Demens both have played good because they’re rock-‘em-sock-‘em football players.  They’re not basketball players spread out all over the field.” Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires GLENDALE, Ariz. – From Day 1, Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians made it clear: Kevin Minter was his starting inside linebacker.“It’s his job to lose,” the third-year coach said at the start of training camp.And thus far, 10 days into camp, Minter has done nothing to loosen his hold on the position.If anything, he’s only strengthened his grip.First, Arians praised the 24-year-old for his play in Saturday’s red-and-white practice and then again for his performance Monday. Comments   Share   last_img read more