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Dealing Cards: Williams in awe of Fitzgerald, Gabbert learning

Arizona Cardinals third-round draft pick Chad Williams (16) works out during an NFL football rookie minicamp at the team's training facility, Friday, May 12, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Tuesday morning, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians praised the majority of his team’s Monday practice, save for the receivers, whom he said had a miserable day with drops.

A few more catchable passes hit the turf Tuesday afternoon, though we will have to wait until Thursday to get Arians’ opinion as the team has its first day off of camp scheduled for Wednesday.

The Cardinals were in pads again Tuesday but not tackling — Arians said they will save that for next week — so the intensity remained at a pretty high level.

Notable

– Our Craig Grialou said he saw Elijhaa Penny line up as a fullback during red zone work.

– A couple of the team’s linebackers came up with interceptions, with Scooby Wright plucking a tipped throw and Tre’Von Johnson snagging a ball that was thrown right to him. Sorry, but couldn’t tell which QBs threw the wayward passes.

– Sticking with Wright, there was some audible excitement from the Cardinals’ defensive sideline over his level of activity on the field.

– Rookie receiver Chad Williams caught a Drew Stanton pass while falling down.

– Justin Bethel had another good day, breaking up some passes while making quick tackles on completions he surrendered.

– Budda Baker nearly came up with a strip-fumble and recovery after he ripped the ball away from TE Ifeanyi Momah, but much to the dismay of the team’s defensive players, Momah was ruled down on the play. Later in practice Momah was on the receiving end of a Stanton touchdown pass.

– Speaking of Penny, on a run to the pylon, he knocked the helmet off cornerback Sojourn Shelton, who came up to try and make the tackle.

Injury update

Arians said LB Alani Fua and S Ironhead Gallon suffered knee injuries in Monday’s practice, adding they were awaiting MRI results to determine what will happen next.

Elie Bouka (ankle) and Jumal Rolle (hamstring) remained out, with their absences expected to cost them each around two weeks. DL Ed Stinson was out with a hamstring issue, while new LB Tevin Floyd also did not practice Tuesday, though the reason for his absence is not yet known.

$LB Deone Bucannon (PUP list) and LB Jarvis Jones (NFI) remained out, while WR Larry Fitzgerald, LB Karlos Dansby and DL Frostee Rucker were given the day off.

Looking up to Fitz

Though a rookie, the third-round pick Williams is fairly outspoken and confident in interviews. The situation he finds himself in does not awe him.

Apparently the same cannot be said for how he feels about one of his teammates. He said sharing the field with Larry Fitzgerald is “exceptional.”

“A guy that I looked up to since I was little,” Williams said. “I could remember mimicking Larry. One time I went on a fishing trip with my dad, and we caught fish and I was trying to catch the fish with one hand like he did on Sport Science at one time.

“That’s things I’ve never told him, but those are things I did when I was younger because he was the guy, that’s who I looked up to. Just being able to be on the field with someone like that, it’s amazing.”

Williams had nothing but praise for Fitzgerald, who he says is an even better person than he is football player.

“He probably has the best character of anyone I’ve ever met,” he said. “Great guy, outstanding; willing to help you learn, willing to do anything, like, he’ll do anything for you. That’s the kind of person he is.”

Learning the offense

QB Blaine Gabbert is in his first training camp with the Cardinals, and said Tuesday things are going great. However, the more reps he gets in his new offense, the more comfortable he will be.

“It really takes a lot of work at night, in the meeting room, just drawing up the plays, asking some questions and just watching the film to really diagnose things,” he said.

For the most part, Gabbert has looked solid in practices. That’s not to say he has not had his rough moments, but he has had his share of positive plays, too.

As for being ahead of schedule as his coach has proclaimed, well, that’s not something the former San Francisco 49er and Jacksonville Jaguar is ready to announce.

“I’m not the one to judge that,” he said. “I just try and go out and put my best foot forward each and every day. I try and prepare hard the night before but the way you learn the system, the way you master the system is you make mistakes out on the practice field, you watch the film and then you get better the next day.

“We’re in that process right now of getting those reps throughout training camp. If I’m better day 30 than I was day one, that will be a good camp.”

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