The Cardinals will be without a key pass rusher Sunday

Josh Luckenbaugh
September 08, 2018 - 11:32 am
Markus_Golden

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

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The Cardinals defense which the Redskins will face on Sunday is loaded with talent, including three 2017 Pro Bowlers in defensive end Chandler Jones, cornerback Patrick Peterson and defensive back Budda Baker.

However, Washington will have one less Arizona defensive weapon to worry about in the season opener, as Friday's injury report revealed Cardinals linebacker Markus Golden will miss the game with a knee injury.

Golden missed the majority of the 2017 season after tearing the ACL in his right knee. Nonetheless, Golden is viewed as a premier pass rusher, having led the Cardinals with 12.5 sacks in 2016, and was expected to form a devastating tandem with Jones, who led the NFL with 17 sacks last season. 

The Redskins still face a daunting task throwing the ball with the likes of Peterson, Baker and veteran safety Antoine Bethea roaming the secondary and Jones coming after Alex Smith every chance he gets. In fact, NFL.com writer Adam Schien ranked Arizona's defense the third-best in the entire NFL.

But Golden's absence should allow the Redskins' talented offensive line to focus on stopping Jones in passing situations. No other Cardinals defender recorded more than 5.5 sacks last season. 

As for Washington's injury list, only wide receiver Maurice Harris has been ruled out for Week 1. Harris is still feeling the effects of a concussion he suffered in the preseason game agaisnt the Jets.

Without him in the lineup, rookies Trey Quinn and Cam Sims could both get opportunities to make an impact in the passing game Sunday.

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