ILB Josh Bynes trying to prove he belongs on Cardinals' 53-man roster

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Some things in the NFL are a mystery, such as why inside linebacker Josh Bynes was sitting at home when the Arizona Cardinals called him in early August.

Coach Bruce Arians had his theories. Maybe Bynes didn’t fit some teams’ systems. Maybe he was injured. Maybe teams who were looking at him had a change of plans.

Sometimes the answer doesn’t matter.

Since the Cardinals signed Bynes on Aug. 5, the seven-year veteran has showed he was worthy of the opportunity as he has carved out a potential spot on the Cardinals' 53-man roster, which will be revealed Saturday.

“There’s been guys every year, you never know why they’re on the street,” Arians said. “He looks good for us. That’s all I care about.

“I don’t really care how he gets here.”

Well, Bynes is here. And could be here to stay if he’s one of the inside linebackers who makes the 53. Despite his production during camp, he’s still in a battle for the last inside linebacker spot with Scooby Wright.

Considering where he was less than four weeks ago, Bynes’ run to the roster is quite impressive.

When the Cardinals called, Bynes was content, to a point, at home with his wife and two children. He enjoyed spending time with them that late into the summer. When he wasn’t thinking about not being in a training camp, Bynes was “fine.” He stuck to his daily schedule of waking up at 6 a.m. and working out.

He wanted to stay ready in case a team called. Then the Cardinals did. He was ready.

He’s played in versions of the Cards’ defense throughout his career in Baltimore and Detroit. But he called this scheme the first real change he’s experienced in his career.

“I’m still learning,” he said. “Don’t get it twisted. I learned the whole thing inside out.”

It took Bynes just a couple of weeks to start getting reps with the first-team defense. Multiple interceptions during training-camp practices helped his ascent up the depth chart. Seven tackles, a half-sack and a pass defensed against the Raiders in Arizona’s second preseason game only bolstered his status.

Bynes suffered a hamstring injury that kept him out of the Chicago Bears game on Aug. 19 but returned, healthy, to continue his quest toward a roster spot. He has continued to practice with the first team with Karlos Dansby dealing with a leg issue and Deone Bucannon out while recovering from ankle surgery.

“It was really good to be out there with guys who’ve been there,” Bynes said. “It’s definitely a good confidence [boost].

“I’ve been doing that (using the headset to call plays) since I’ve been in the league and control defenses and stuff like that. It’s definitely a good feeling.”

Bynes brought a perfectionist’s mentality with him to Arizona. When he’s directing the defense, he’s trying to make sure he’s not only doing everything right, but that those around him are as well.

The 28-year-old Bynes, who played at Auburn, wasn’t drafted in 2011. That’s been driving Bynes ever since.

“When you’re an undrafted guy, you have to make that impression each and every day,” he said. “Being undrafted, I always go with that chip on my shoulder because I know I was passed. A lot of people doubted me as well.

“You have to prove why you belong in this league. That’s all I think about each day I’m at practice and on game day. I’m trying to prove myself and show that I still belong in this league.”