All-Access with Cole Toner — Aug. 10: Preseason matters
During training camp, Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Cole Toner will join Doug and Wolf every morning on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station, to give an inside look at the daily grind of camp and a personal view of how his 2017 preparation is coming along.
How many times have you heard it?
“NFL preseason is too long.”
If a team can make an argument about the length of the preseason in 2017, it’s the Arizona Cardinals, who reported to camp July 22. Nearly three full weeks in, they’re getting ready to play their second of five preseason games.
For many players, preseason isn’t that important. Many have their roster spots and position on the depth chart locked up. Many more, however, are still fighting to make a team and catch the eye of the coaching staff.
Cole Toner falls into the second category. As a second-year player, he is far from a sure thing to be on the Cardinals’ 53-man roster, so for him, preseason matters. A lot.
“There’s about 10 to 15 guys on a roster where a preseason game doesn’t matter, but for the rest of those 75, it’s really important and it is their livelihood,” Toner said Thursday morning. “They’re not millionaires and they’re trying to make a team and they’re trying to play hard every day and get everything right and there’s a lot of pressure.”
Toner recalled a story a player told in camp about the rigors of trying to make it in the NFL during the arduous preseason.
“Somebody told a story in our locker room the other day where their parents were at a preseason game and somebody got hurt in the fourth quarter and one of the fans behind them was like ‘oh, nobody cares, he’s a millionaire anyway,'” he said. “But it’s not necessarily true, especially in a preseason game. The guy was probably a younger guy, a rookie, could be undrafted. Maybe he didn’t really have a signing bonus and they’re working their butt off to try and make the team and try to make a future for themselves.
“For 75 guys, it’s really important — all the preseason games.”
The Cardinals host the Oakland Raiders Saturday night at University of Phoenix Stadium. Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. and pregame coverage starts at 3:30 on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.