Cardinals hit the field for OTAs; David Johnson, Josh Rosen impress
TEMPE, Ariz. – Scheduled to be on the practice field until noon, the Arizona Cardinals ended their first day of organized team activities, or OTAs, well before then. And there was a very good reason for that, according to head coach Steve Wilks.
“The tempo and the urgency was there and that’s one of the things that we emphasize,” he said Tuesday. “When you look at the pace of practice, I think we probably finished up 22 minutes ahead of time, so that’s outstanding.”
Players hustled on and off the field and from one drill to the next.
“It’s very beneficial,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “You go out there, get your work done and get off the field. It’s very up-tempo so at the end of the day, you’re going out there, you’re getting your work done, you’re getting conditioning and everything, so everything is working hand-in-hand.”
Wilks, as he has since landing the head coaching job, stressed the fundamentals.
The Cardinals will be on the field a total of 10 times between now and mid-June before they break until training camp.
“I love it. He’s a big detail guy and I feel like that’s the things you need,” dollar linebacker Deone Bucannon said, referring to Wilks. “The details are important. I feel like if you miss out on the little things, it’s going to affect the big things so I feel like if we get the little things, big things are going to happen.”
Though players practiced in just helmets and shorts, the start of OTAs meant the offense could go against the defense, with limited contact, of course.
Two players stood out to Wilks.
“David Johnson. He looked outstanding today,” Wilks said. “It’s good to have him back out there, just flying around and the things that he’s doing right now is pretty exciting. Josh (Rosen) looked great today. Some of his timing and his throws with the quarterback and tight ends, I thought, were right on point.”
For Johnson, this was his first real action — minus pads — since dislocating his wrist in Week 1 last season.
Several other players coming off injury were participating as well, including Bethea (pectoral muscle), left tackle D.J. Humphries (knee), left guard Mike Iupati (triceps) and running back T.J. Logan (wrist).
“I was a little limited,” Humphries said. “I’m still a little timid in my steps here and there just because I’ve been doing a lot of stuff on air. This is the first time getting in front of people. Every period I get a few reps. It’s good to get my feet wet again.”
Defensive end Markus Golden (knee) and tight end Jermaine Gresham (Achilles) worked out on the side.
Day 1 of OTAs also marked the first time the rookies shared the field with veterans.
“The vets took control today in really showing these guys how we do it. I thought those guys did a good job of falling in place. (Rookie receiver) Christian (Kirk) did some good things as well as (rookie running back) Chase (Edmonds),” Wilks said. “I’m excited about the young class and what those guys are going to bring to us.”
Rosen runs with the 1s
The rookies had the field all to themselves during the three-day mini-camp over the weekend. Their reps now are expected to be reduced, though that wasn’t the case for Rosen on Tuesday.
With the Cardinals being cautious with starter Sam Bradford and backup Mike Glennon leaving practice early after vomiting on the field.
“I think Mike had a little bug … but he’s fine and he should be out there tomorrow,” Wilks said.
Rosen worked with the first-team offense.
“He stepped in the huddle and had a lot of pizzazz. He didn’t seem like he was choked up at all. His voice didn’t crack none. He wasn’t talking low. He was excited,” Humphries said. “He was asserting himself into the huddle and I was pretty excited to see it. He seemed like he was pretty prepared to step right in there and command some stuff. He didn’t seem like a rookie at all.”
Rosen is a bit behind Bradford and Glennon as far as learning the playbook. Wilks, though, didn’t seem too concerned pointing to Rosen’s intelligence.
“And most importantly, he puts the time and effort in,” Wilks said. “I think he’s going to be able to pick it up quickly and go out there and execute.”
Cardinals show support for Kirk
One day after news broke of his arrest at this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, Kirk was catching passes and running routes with the rest of his Cardinals teammates.
Afterwards, Kirk was not seen inside the locker room during media availability.
“I’m not going to go indulge in what he told us, but I will say this, we knew about it. We did our own independent research on it and we felt very good about the information that we received and that’s why we moved forward in really drafting him,” Wilks said.
“As I stated before, we want to bring in great character guys and I think Christian is one of those guys. I think the situation is going to resolve itself here in a couple of months and with it still being a on-going legal issue, I’m not going to go into it any further than that.”