Bradford’s workload to increase, Kirk moves past arrest
Jun 5, 2018, 4:23 PM | Updated: 9:38 pm
TEMPE, Ariz. – The Cardinals have been careful with quarterback Sam Bradford during offseason workouts as he continues to recover from a knee injury that limited him to two games in 2017.
Coach Steve Wilks hopes, however, to increase Bradford’s workload at next week’s minicamp – the final week of offseason workouts for the team.
“It’s more of a team setting,” Wilks said, when asked specifically where he’d like to get Bradford more work. “We’re really trying to give him different looks, maybe from a blitz standpoint and also two-minute. Today was a good operational day for us. He didn’t get any of that work so next week those are some of the things that we’re going to try and improve on and try and get him in the mix with those.”
Bradford wasn’t available to speak to reporters on Tuesday but he said previously that his left knee “feels good.” He injured it in Week 1 last season and re-aggravated the injury in Week 5, landing on injured reserve for the rest of the season. Orthopedist James Andrews performed an arthroscopic procedure on it in early November.
“I think he’s on schedule,” Wilks said. “He feels real confident right now in how his knee feels. We’re doing a great job in house with the trainers and the strength and conditioning coach in getting him where he needs to be. From a mental standpoint, I think he is feeling pretty good.”
KIRK ADDRESSES ARREST
Christian Kirk addressed reporters for the first time since the charges against him stemming from a February incident were dismissed by the Scottsdale City Attorney’s Office. Kirk was initially charged with damaging property and disorderly conduct-disruptive behavior, after he was arrested while leaving the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Feb. 3, according to Scottsdale police. The charges alleged that Kirk and a friend were throwing rocks at car windows.
The charges were dropped after Kirk paid restitution, and the Scottsdale City Prosecutor moved to dismiss the case with a “misdemeanor compromise,” City of Scottsdale spokesperson Kelly Corsette told the Arizona Republic.
“I’m just happy that it’s all done and over with and I can just focus on football now,” Kirk said. “It’s difficult. Obviously, there was a negative response to it but I’ve just got to block those things out and hold true to who you are and move on from it. I’m really happy it’s all cleared up and I’m just glad to be back doing what I do.”
The Cardinals were aware of the incident before they selected Kirk in the second round (No. 47) of the NFL Draft in April.
“They just asked what happened and I told them the truth,” Kirk said. “They trusted in me, trusted in the type of person I was and that was pretty much the gist of it.”
Kirk declined to offer specifics of the incident.
“I’d rather just move on from it,” he said. “I trusted in the process. I knew the truth was going to come out and it did. It’s time to move on from it.”
GRESHAM THE GOOD
Tight end Jermaine Gresham downplayed a viral story in which he helped out Delilah Cassidy, an Arizona State graduate, at Los Angeles International Airport. Cassidy was in a tough spot. Upon returning from Europe, she was unable to pay an unexpected baggage fee at the gate and faced the possibility of missing her connecting flight to Phoenix.
“I wasn’t going to let that happen,” said Gresham, who paid the fee for Cassidy so she could make her flight. “I was right there, had my wallet in my pocket. I was just like, ‘here, just swipe my card, it’s 50 bucks, catch your flight.’ There wasn’t much to it. She was very appreciative. She was very nice. She thanked me, I want to say 20 times from the front to the seat. She was very respectful.
“I hope everybody in the world would do something like that. Seeing her smile and seeing her appreciation was worth it 10 times over.”
Gresham said he had no idea the story had gone viral via Twitter until Cardinals social media manager Brandon Naidus texted him and said, according to Gresham, “Yo, you’re a viral sensation.”
“I was like, ‘For what? I didn’t get arrested.'”
Gresham quit Twitter a while back. He has no plans to rejoin.
“I don’t care,” he said, laughing. “I’m pretty sure somebody’s going to hate me later on anyway. It’s just what it is. I’m happy she made her flight more than anything, but I’m not really a media person.”
Wilks praised defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche for doing “a great job coming off the ball, penetrating. The one thing we emphasize across the board – we talked about this even when I was coaching DBs – is about using our weapons, our eyes, hands, hips and feet.”
Wilks was asked if he has had any success getting inside the head of his enigmatic defensive lineman to bring out his potential.
“I’m still searching,” he said. “I’ve got my little quirks as well. We all do so I really try not to change the individual. Robert has embraced that because we allow Robert to be Robert. As long as he’s working hard and working toward the common goal of this team, I’m fine and that’s what he has been doing.”
— Wilks said the Cardinals emphasized situational football on Tuesday, including two-minute situations. He liked the execution and communication.
— Wilks likes the fundamentals and technique he’s seeing from rookie offensive lineman Mason Cole. “You can see his movement up front, that first step getting to that second level. One thing we also look at, too, is the single blocks on the nose [tackle], how much movement he can get. I’m excited right now just to see him move around.”
— Wilks said that with five offseason practices left, the Cardinals have not sustained any serious injuries.
— Wilks was asked why he chose to write a letter to Carri Thompson, the widow of Mike Thompson, who died suddenly on May 10 after a medical emergency. Thompson, 51, was involved in Pop Warner Football for 18 years and was assisting at Mesa Desert Ridge School.
“I didn’t know coach Thompson at all personally, but I know the impact that he has probably had on those young men,” Wilks said. “Being a product of a single-parent home, my mom worked all the time at the post office and if it wasn’t for my Pop Warner coaches, to be honest, I don’t know if I’d be here today.
“Don Robinson and Ray Robinson, they coached me at different stages of my Pop Warner years. They came and picked me up from home, made sure I had something to eat, and always stayed on me about my grades. I know the kind of impact those coaches have. It was just on my heart. That’s what I wanted to do.”