Arizona Cardinals: Who to blame for Isaiah Simmons’ limited snap count?

Arizona Cardinals rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Arizona Cardinals rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Should we blame Steve Keim’s obsession with hybrid players?

Steve Keim has a history of selecting hybrid defensive players during his tenure with the Cardinals but there has been one constant. They have been extraordinarily misused during their time with the team. Deone Buchannon is a name that Cardinals fans remember and for good reason.

Buchannon was a stud with the Cardinals and started a shift around the NFL causing more teams to assess and add the money backer position to their teams. He was a great contributor in the Todd Bowles/James Bettcher defense but seemed to disappear as quickly as he showed up.

The search for his next hybrid player was the drafting of Haason Reddick in 2017. However, in 2020, Reddick would become the second straight hybrid player the Cardinals decided not to sign to their fifth-year option.

After using Reddick as a middle linebacker for the first three years of his NFL career, the Cardinals finally decided Reddick was more comfortable in his original collegiate role of an outside pass rusher. With a good start to the 2020 season it looks as if the Cardinals may keep Reddick if he can continue to show growth as a pass rusher.

After watching these two picks there was reason to be concerned when the Cardinals selected Simmons this year. It seems as if the Cardinals were set on not allowing their hybrid players to do what they do best and be flexible on the field. They seem to pick these players with the original idea of flexibility but then pigeonhole them to a specific role.

So I will ask again is this Steve Keim’s fault?

I have mixed emotions on this question. Yes, Keim has the power to pick who they draft and ultimately has finally say over how the team is run, so at least some of the blame has to rest on his shoulders. The continued pattern of misusing hybrid defensive players I think is the biggest concern for Keim especially since it has now occurred with multiple coaches in various defenses and he is the only constant variable.