ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cards camp notebook: QB Sam Bradford ready for preseason football

Aug 7, 2018, 1:32 PM | Updated: 2:22 pm
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford (9) runs with the ball as he gets past linebacker Haason...
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford (9) runs with the ball as he gets past linebacker Haason Reddick (43) as offensive tackle D.J. Humphries (74), defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (90), and offensive guard Mike Iupati (76) look on during an NFL football practice Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — There’s a decent chance the Arizona Cardinals are being underrated nationally. That’s not to say this team doesn’t have question marks and potential issues, but most predictions around the country — and particularly in Vegas — seem to be made by expecting the worst possible answers to those questions.

One of the first positions most skeptics point to is quarterback, where the Cardinals are utilizing a group of guys that weren’t even associated with the organization a season ago. It starts with Sam Bradford, who has proven effective when he’s been on the field over the last few years.

Unfortunately, keeping him on the field hasn’t been easy.

He’s now moving along through the early portion of his first camp with Arizona. And he likes what he’s seeing from the new offense that coordinator Mike McCoy is implementing.

“I feel good right now,” Bradford said. “Body feels good. I think what we were doing in the spring has definitely paid off with the way that I feel right now. I think the offense is really starting to come together.”

Head coach Steve Wilks has suggested certain players like Bradford, David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald might not play quite as much as their first team counterparts during the preseason. But with the Chargers coming to town for an opening exhibition contest on Saturday, Bradford is ready for some live game action.

“I think they are beneficial,” he said of preseason games. “I think getting out there — especially after not playing a ton last year — I think getting out there, you can only simulate so much in practice.

“There’s only so much live work you can get in practice with people around you, in the pocket, getting a feel for the pocket, being able to move, feeling when the ball’s got to come out, how long you’ve got. So I think getting in there in the preseason and getting some of that awareness back, I think there’s some benefit to that.”

That’s not always a typical response from a vet. Even David Johnson started laughing on Monday when he was asked if he was looking forward to the preseason schedule. But Bradford has a lot on the line right now.

Yes, he’s been paid well throughout his career. And yes, he’s the pretty clear No. 1 quarterback in camp right now.

This is his team. But this is also likely his one and only season with the Cardinals, barring some unforeseen circumstances unfolding over the next few months. Making the most of it could go a long way to prolonging his career elsewhere in the future.

Not to mention what he and this group might be able to accomplish in the present. After all, mixed in among the question marks, he’s got two certain weapons at his disposal in Johnson and Fitzgerald. Bradford spoke highly of both of them on Tuesday, noting Johnson’s speed and versatility, and Fitzgerald’s large catch radius.

Of course, the reason this is probably a one-and-done season in the desert for Bradford can be found behind him on the depth chart. If all goes well, Josh Rosen is the QB of the future, and Bradford likes what he’s seen out of his understudy.

“He asks the right questions,” Bradford said. “He’s hungry for information. It seems like he’s always trying to learn something. And it doesn’t stop in the meeting rooms. Even at the dinner table, he’ll ask. It’s fun to be around someone like that and hopefully try to be able to help him. I share with him some of the experiences I’ve had, some of the things that I’ve learned over
the years. Hopefully it can relate to him, it can help him in some way.”

UNCOMFORTABLE CONDITIONS

The Cardinals practiced outside yet again on Tuesday morning, as Wilks continues to put an emphasis on his guys finding ways to toughen up his team.

“It’s really no different from the things inside,” the first year head coach explained. “What you’re trying to create is a mindset of guys trying to push themselves through it and trying to create some reserve. Everything is a calculated schedule, calculated plan in everything that I’m trying to do. It’s going to be humid in the L.A. Coliseum the second game of the season, so hopefully we’re going to be able to draw back on these moments right here and find a way to push through some things.”

For his part, Bradford did note the significant difference in temperature between Monday’s indoor practice and Tuesday’s outdoor session.

“I really have no room to complain,” he said. “I mean I’m a quarterback. I think it’s a lot harder on our skill guys and the big guys out there. But they are noticeably warmer out there, a little bit tougher. But I think it’s good for us to go out there and develop that mindset that, regardless of the conditions, we’ve got to fight through it. We can’t let something like that get in the way of the way that way play and the way that we prepare.”

EXTRA POINTS

– Third-round pick Mason Cole continued to work with the first unit as Arizona attempts to overcome the loss of veteran center A.Q. Shipley, who was placed on the injured reserve Tuesday (torn ACL). Wilks reiterated that he doesn’t want all the pressure to fall squarely on the rookie’s shoulders, saying he has plenty of vets around who will be helping him out. And Bradford suggested the best thing for his new center right now is simply to get as many reps as possible.

– The Cardinals unveiled their new food menu for the 2018 season. Included on the list is a $75 Gridiron Burger, which weighs in at seven pounds and consists of five burger patties, five hot dogs, five brats, 20 slices of cheese, eight pieces of bacon, eight chicken tenders and more. If anyone can somehow eat it in under an hour, they get a free jersey.

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Cards camp notebook: QB Sam Bradford ready for preseason football