GLENDALE — Bruce Arians made it clear from day one: His team is going to take shots down the field.
“We have six home runs on the play sheet every week, and we’re not leaving any bullets unused,” Arians said at his introductory press conference back in January.
The Cardinals hit their first home run Friday, the first day of training camp.
Here’s the play-by-play: Quarterback Drew Stanton received the snap from center; play action faked to Ryan Williams, took three short steps up in the pocket and then rifled a pass down the middle of the field. The ball split the two defenders, safety Curtis Taylor and cornerback Javier Arenas, and fell into the outstretched arms of Robert Gill, who made the catch in stride before losing his balance and stumbling forward out of the back of the end zone.
With the crowd — estimated to be at 8,100 — roaring its approval, Gill quickly rose to his feet and high-stepped it back towards his teammates.
“I’m a speed guy,” Gill said afterwards. “I take pride in all my speed routes, so if it’s a deep ball or it’s a play that we can have a big play, I take pride in that. I just want to make the big plays that help this team get to the next level anyway I can.”
Gill is a 5-foot-10, 180-pound former track star who decided to turn his attention to football after graduating from Texas State. He spent the past two seasons in the Arena Football League before the Cardinals signed him as a free agent in April.
“That’s how I take everything in life. I don’t want nothing easy,” Gill said. “It’s a challenge for me to be here, at this point, so coming out here doing something I love, I mean, that’s just second nature for me to just prove myself.”
The 29-year-old gained national attention when a YouTube video went viral showing him running 25 mph on a treadmill.
“It was nice to get notoriety as the fastest person in the league,” said Gill, who earned an appearance on NBC’s Today Show. “Anything that can shine light on our team in a good, positive way, I’m all for it.”
With his speed and Arians wanting to air it out, Gill may find himself in the mix for one of those last receiver spots.
A couple of more big plays like Friday certainly wouldn’t hurt his cause, either.
This much is true: He’s not going to be overthrown.
“Uh, I doubt it,” Gill said smiling.