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49ers can expect to see return of Deone Bucannon, healthy dose of Antoine Bethea in Week 4

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Arizona Cardinals v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals have been without defensive back/linebacker Deone Bucannon for the first three weeks of the season, but it appears he will be back this week. Bucannon has been dealing with an ankle injury that has been slow to heal.

The Cardinals expected Bucannon back in Week 3, but he was inactive after three straight limited practices. On Wednesday, Bucannon was a full participant. If he keeps it up, it seems a strong bet he will be on the field this Sunday. Bruce Arians has indicated Bucannon will be on a snap count when he gets back on the field, and that likely means we see some heavy rotation. Hassan Reddick has been getting a lot of snaps out of the gate, and it will be interesting to see how the Cardinals work Bucannon in to his former money backer spot.

Meanwhile, behind the backers, former 49ers safety Antoine Bethea has remained busy even as he is not technically a starter. Through three weeks, Tyrann Mathieu and Tyvon Branch have led the safeties in snaps, with Bethea getting a healthy workload off the bench. Six of the Cardinals top seven defensive lineup combinations have featured all three safeties on the field. A year ago that trio included D.J. Swearinger. While Swearinger has solid physical tools, he has bounced around the league. He might have a settled opportunity in Washington, but it will be interesting to see if Bethea can offer more stability as the Cardinals third safety.

Arizona’s defense is off to a decent enough start, but getting Bucannon will provide them with some welcome relief. The workload for both Bucannon and Bethea will be something to track. I suspect Bucannon remains on the lower end, at under 20 snaps, but I suppose we’ll see how the Cardinals look to counter the 49ers game plan.