FLAGSTAFF • If the competition to replace injured linebacker Chike Okeafor could be decided by who talks the better game, there would be no question on the winner: It would be the loquacious Darryl Blackstock.
“The opportunity is there for me to take,” Blackstock said. “I know I’m going to take it.
“I’ve been standing (in the background) too long. I’m ready to play. More than ready to play.”
Except there’s one complication. The guy who replaces the dependable Okeafor — perhaps out for the year with a torn biceps tendon — actually will have to play the game.
And that’s why the lower-key Calvin Pace figures to be a contender, too.
Pace, though he didn’t know exactly what Blackstock had said before him, sounded like he was giving his own campaign speech:
“You got to let your play speak for you.
“For me to sit up here and try to talk my way into the spot and make guarantees would be foolish.
“We’ve got three more preseason games. I’ve got to show ’em what I can do.”
At the other vacated spot, that of Oliver Ross at right offensive tackle, there’s no question about the replacement.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt even was moved to joke: “I don’t know what we could do at right tackle. We don’t have many options. We might give Levi a shot.”
Of course, he was talking about Levi Brown. With an $18 million guaranteed contract, the Cards’ No. 1 draft pick was expected to supplant Ross in any case.
“I’d rather earn the position” than get it through an injury, Brown said.
Ross, who suffered a torn triceps muscle, also could miss the entire season.