Just four weeks into the 2013 season, the Arizona Cardinals' defense has been depleted by injuries, suspension and other unfortunate occurrences.
The team has lost outside linebackers Sam Acho, Lorenzo Alexander and Alex Okafor for the season. Pro Bowl inside linebacker Daryl Washington has yet to play a snap due to a four-game substance abuse suspension. And defensive tackle Dan Williams has missed the last two games following the death of his father.
Despite being short-handed Sunday, the Arizona defense played a strong game, helping the Cardinals to a 13-10 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The good news is, help is on the way.
General manager Steve Keim told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 620 Monday morning that Washington, Williams and safety Rashad Johnson, who missed Sunday's game with a finger injury, should be ready to go when the Cardinals host Carolina in Glendale.
"I told Bruce (Arians) last night, I may meet Daryl this morning at the door with a big hug," Keim said. "That speed on defense, his ability to apply pressure and cover those backs and tight ends was sorely missed.
"Dan Williams should be back either (Monday or Tuesday). His father's funeral was Saturday and then Rashad Johnson is still day-to-day, but once I talk to the medical staff this afternoon, I'll have a better idea."
Keim is thrilled to get Washington back from suspension, and knows the fourth-year pro will help a great deal.
"He's a dynamic player," Keim said. "Again, any type of player that can cover backs and tight ends, doesn't have to change your defense from a sub standpoint -- he's a three-down player -- and obviously, when you talk about a guy who can bring pressure in the A-gap, off the edge, can come from multiple spots with the foot speed and the explosiveness that he plays with, he's a top-five linebacker in the NFL, in my opinion.
"I think you're going to see this weekend, he's going to play with a ball of rage."