Deone Bucannon learning from vets on how to extend himself

TEMPE, Ariz. – Deone Bucannon’s used to winding up a college football season with Washington State around this time of the year. Now that he’s with the Cardinals, he’s a little over halfway done with his season, and his body can tell there’s something different going on.

“I can’t lie, it’s feeling like it’s tired,” Bucannon said. “It’s because I haven’t experienced the NFL for a full season.”

Bucannon says he’s gotten to this point of his rookie season primarily because of what the veterans have taught him to do to take care of himself.

“I’m getting taught how to take care of my body,” Bucannon said. “I’m looking at the veterans and seeing what they’re doing and I [think], ‘I should do it too.’”

“They told me that this would happen, so I’ve prepared mentally and I’m not gonna slow down a step. I’m gonna stay on my game and keep doing what the vets continue to tell me to do to take care of my body. I love playing football anyway, so this is a plus for me.”

Bucannon says he’s watching and learning from cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie, Patrick Peterson and safety Rashad Johnson on how to do proper upkeep on his body.

“I say Cro [Cromartie] because he has the most years under his belt, so he understands the game, he understands how to take care of his body more,” Bucannon said. “He puts a lot of time into it. He’s always stretching; he always has a softball to roll his feet on. Just little things I need to learn how to do and how to incorporate into my routine, but definitely those three guys.”

Besides stretching, the vets have taught Bucannon about eating right, which is just as important to his physical well-being.

“Eat right and another thing, stay in the training room as much as you can,” Bucannon said. “No matter what it is, even if you’re not hurt, get in there, get a massage, ice down your knees, get in the cold and hot tub and have a routine.”

With the Cardinals missing Karlos Dansby and Daryl Washington at the linebacker spot, it was on Bucannon to play the hybrid dollar linebacker/safety position, which he’s done pretty well in his first season with Arizona. For a 22-year old, he’s had a lot thrown on his plate, but he’s handled it well and the 52 men in the locker room appreciate what he’s done thus far.

“I feel like part of the team,” Bucannon said. “The guys have definitely welcomed me in with open arms. As far as being a rookie, yeah I still feel like a rookie because I am a rookie, but at the same time I definitely feel part of the team, I feel comfortable.”

Head coach Bruce Arians didn’t think Bucannon would come along as quickly as he has this season.

“No. I thought he would struggle more,” Arians said. “But it’s a testament to him and how much time he puts in, not just in this building but away from the building, to get ready.”

Arians is extremely pleased with Bucannon’s growth and development at this point in the season.

“It’s just fantastic growth. Every week is growth, because he comes to work every day,” Arians said. “He’s playing something he’s never played before, and playing it really well. The one thing is he likes to throw his face in the fan, so we put him up close enough to the fan where he can get in there every time.”

Bucannon made his presence felt this past Sunday against the Detroit Lions. He led the team in tackles with seven. It’s truly defense by committee with the Cardinals, especially in the secondary. As far as top tacklers go with Arizona, Johnson, Tony Jefferson and Bucannon are three of their top four tacklers on the season. Bucannon sees no selfishness at all in the secondary, which has truly helped them become one of the most feared secondaries in the NFL.

“No, not at all, we just want to see each other succeed,” Bucannon said. “When someone else makes the play, we’re just as excited as he is as if we made the play [because] we’re happy for him.”

“I feel like there’s something special with our team, we’re definitely selfless as a team and as a defensive unit [and] we care about each other,” Bucannon said.

There’s unselfishness in the locker room and within the secondary, but at the same time, Bucannon knows where he stands in the pecking order in said secondary.

“I’m definitely last,” Bucannon said. “I’d assume it goes Cro [Cromartie], Pat [Peterson], Ty [Mathieu], Rashad [Johnson] all them [are] up there and rookie I’m over here.”

“I understand, I accept it and honestly I’m smiling every day and happy to be here,” Bucannon said.

Bucannon and the defense will get a true test this Sunday in Seattle, Wash., as they’ll take on Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks for the first time this season. Obviously, this will be Bucannon’s first time taking on the world champions and his first trip to CenturyLink Field with the team.

Bucannon says he thinks about hitting someone like Wilson or Marshawn Lynch every day. He said guys like that don’t cause him to lose any sleep at night. He’s confident in his abilities and knows he can go up to the Pacific Northwest and be impactful.

“Each and every week, it’s gonna be premiere guys,” Bucannon said. “I’m over there [and] I want to put my best performance on the field and I want to get after them as hard as I can.”

“It’s a blessing and I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Bucannon said.





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