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Derrick Hall satisfied with Dbacks buying and se

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first_img Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Over at Grantland.com, Bill Barnwell created an “NFL All-Surprise Team,” and a pair of Cardinals made the list.On offense, Barnwell chose running back Chris Johnson.Of course, this is what the Cardinals do. General manager Steve Keim signs a washed-up veteran with a big name and injury issues in the middle of August for close to the league minimum, and when the Cardinals need him to step up, he suddenly becomes one of the better players at his position. Nobody was willing to offer Johnson any sort of guaranteed money throughout the offseason, but here we are in October, and he looks more like the guy who ran for 2,000 yards in 2009 than he has since, well, 2009.Johnson is averaging 5.1 yards per carry without the sort of 80-yard monster run that would have propped up his figures in years past. The last time he did that over a five-week stretch as a primary back was in 2012. It would be tough to expect him to keep this up, but then again, how likely was it that we would see the old Chris Johnson back for any stretch of time when he signed in August?The 30-year-old Johnson entered Week 6 as the NFL’s second-leading rusher with 405 yards on 79 carries, and his stellar play has helped the Cardinals go from having one of the worst rushing attacks in the league in 2014 to one of the best so far in 2015. Top Stories But the Cardinals’ offense is not the only reason they are off to a great start, as their defense has certainly played a role. And from that group, the player Barnwell writes is one of the league’s biggest surprises is linebacker Kevin Minter.This was a make-or-break year for Minter, a 2013 second-rounder who had struggled to get on the field during his first two seasons. Thrust into a starting role by the retirement of Larry Foote, now Minter’s inside linebackers coach, the LSU product has been excellent against the run and better than expected as a pass defender. It would have been reasonable to assume the Cardinals would use Sean Weatherspoon as a coverage linebacker and take Minter out for one of their many defensive backs in their sub-packages, but Weatherspoon has barely played and was a healthy scratch last week, while Minter has suited up for 88.9 percent of Arizona’s snaps.Minter is second on the Cardinals with 30 total tackles, and while the rest of his numbers don’t necessarily stand out, his ability to be more than just a “thumper” gives defensive coordinator James Bettcher significantly more freedom in terms of his play calling.Other candidates from the Cardinals could have included David Johnson, a third-round pick who is tied for the team lead with six total touchdowns, as well as maybe Palmer, who is putting up career-best numbers less than a year after tearing his ACL. Comments   Share   To some, the Arizona Cardinals are one of the biggest surprises of the 2015 NFL season.They are 4-1, have the best point differential in the league, and once again look like a team that could make some noise come playoff time.Of course, there are many reasons for the fast start, from Carson Palmer’s health and productivity to the resurgence of receiver Larry Fitzgerald, but in terms of real surprises, there are apparently to players who really stand out. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img

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