ARIZONA CARDINALS

Sam Bradford expects Cardinals to sling it more vs. Saints

Aug 14, 2018, 12:45 PM | Updated: 3:35 pm
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford watches teammates from the sidelines during an NFL footb...
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford watches teammates from the sidelines during an NFL football practice Monday, Aug. 13, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Sam Bradford only got to throw one pass on Saturday. It went six yards to Ricky Seals-Jones, making the Arizona Cardinals’ No. 1 signal caller a perfect 1-for-1 in the preseason opener. The number-crunchers even gave him an official quarterback rating of 91.7 on the evening.

For one pass. Seriously.

Bradford wants to do more on Friday in New Orleans, and he’ll likely get the chance. Head coach Steve Wilks said he intends to get rookie quarterback Josh Rosen some reps with the first team against the Saints. If for no other reason than to put the rookie behind the first string offensive line, that’s probably a good move. But it doesn’t mean we won’t see more Bradford too.

With the starters poised to see more action than they did against the Chargers, there should be more opportunities across the board.

“I’m sure, you know, we’ll throw it a little bit more than we did last week and just look to stay balanced,” Bradford said Tuesday. “At the same time, I would really like for the run game to look the way it did last week as well.”

Wilks has maintained throughout camp that Bradford is on the short list of players that typically won’t play as much as the rest of the first team this preseason. They know what they have in him, and they want to preserve him for the opener against Washington on Sept. 9. Rosen has shown promise in camp, but Bradford is Arizona’s best shot at actually winning games right now.

Still, Bradford has suggested he wouldn’t mind getting some reps in during the preseason, because he does see the benefit of experiencing some live game action. That’s not always a view most established players have but, then again, he’s the quarterback and this is a completely new team for him. You can only work on timing so much in practice.

It’s a fine line though. And Bradford is completely on board with the strategy he and the team came up with back in the spring.

“Having that plan in place and really sticking to that plan, I think my knee feels really good right now,” Bradford said. “I think my body’s in a great place. So I think that those days off have come at the right times and kept my body where it is.”

He also acknowledged that some version of this plan to keep him upright could extend into the regular season, though nothing has been solidified.

GROUND GAMES

Two of the top backfields in football will be on display when the Cardinals visit the Saints on Friday. And while that could get a little skewed since the main backs won’t be playing deep into the game, Wilks knows beating the 2018 version of New Orleans will hinge on containing the duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram.

“Number one, we’ve got to stop the run,” Wilks said. “This is a good running offense. Matter of fact, they were No. 1 in the league last year rushing the football. They have two dynamic running backs and we’ve got to do a great job of stopping the run first.”

Of course, Arizona is set up pretty well in that regard as well. There’s not much experience behind David Johnson, but there is decent upside with young backs like Chase Edmonds and T.J. Logan. It all starts with Johnson though, and he’s still making some of the new players in camp take notice.

“I mean, he’s pretty impressive,” Bradford said. “Today at practice, just watching him run routes. I think he might be one of our best route runners, regardless of position. I mean he’s just so smooth, he’s so versatile as a running back that there’s so many different things you can do with him.”

That benefits the whole team, but especially offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who gets to deploy his running back a number of different ways. Bradford, who could use consistent targets to throw to in the passing game, could benefit as well.

“If you watched him, as opposed to some other running backs, and just watched the way that he gets in and out of breaks and rolls cuts, it looks like a receiver out there doing it,” Bradord said. “It really does. He’s just so smooth at what he does out there. Guys usually look a little bit unnatural out there just because that’s not where they play but, when you put him out there, he looks like he belongs on the outside as well.”

EXTRA POINT

– Brice Butler, who left practice on Monday, didn’t practice Tuesday. Wilks said he’s dealing with a little soreness in his foot.

– When Bradford was asked what helikes about Wilks as his new head coach, he pointed to his honesty and consistent demeanor, noting that he doesn’t sugarcoat anything.

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