Tue, 24 Nov 2020

Big Game In Dallas Leads To Budda Baker Winning NFC Honor

Arizona Cardinals
22 Oct 2020, 04:03 GMT+10

Safety and new captain is Defensive Player of the Week for the first time Darren Urban

When Chandler Jones was lost for the season with a biceps injury, the rest of Cardinals' captains went to Kliff Kingsbury to tell the coach it made sense to fill the captaincy with Budda Baker.

It made sense to Kingsbury, who couldn't think of a player more deserving.

Then Baker went out and dominated against the Dallas Cowboys, earning something else he deserved -- NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

It's the first time Baker has won the award in his career, and comes a week after Kyler Murray won the offensive version.

Baker had seven tackles, a sack, he forced a fumble and he made his first interception of his career against the Cowboys. He was a game-wrecker in a game in which the Cardinals played excellent on defense.

"This was a game we finally trusted each other," Baker said.

The Cardinals won three Defensive Player of the Week awards last season -- two by Jones, and one from cornerback Patrick Peterson. Baker is the first Cardinals' safety to win the award since Tyrann Mathieu won it in Week 3 in 2015.

Baker is having his best season a year after making his first Pro Bowl. His importance is shown not only when he has played but also when he has not -- in the game he missed for thumb surgery, in Carolina, his absence was glaring.

"When he is out there," Kingsbury said, "we are a different team."

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