Cardinals’ regular-season routine in effect, Robert Nkemdiche day-to-day
TEMPE, Ariz. – The Cardinals are only halfway through their preseason schedule, but coach Steve Wilks is ready to impose a regular-season routine.
The Cardinals practiced on Sunday morning – two days after defeating the New Orleans Saints, 20-15, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome – and they will practice again on Monday before Wilks begins the normal schedule of off-days on Tuesday, practices on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and a walk-through on Saturday.
With preseason game No. 3 scheduled for Sunday in Dallas against the Cowboys, the schedule makes sense, but Wilks said he would have done it anyway.
“This was always in the plans,” he said. “I wanted those guys to get acclimated to how we’re going to do it throughout the year, to get away from the University of Phoenix Stadium, to get back here in Tempe and get down to the routine. Routine is so important to me.”
Wilks will have to alter his routine for the final week of the preseason. The Cardinals host the Denver Broncos on Aug. 30, a Thursday.
Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche is day-to-day with a nagging right-foot injury he re-aggravated early against the Saints, Wilks said. Nkemdiche was engaged with Saints right guard Larry Warford on New Orleans’ second drive when he came up limping.
“We really don’t have a timetable on it right now,” Wilks said. “I don’t want to press Robert to get back out there. Biggest thing, I want him to be back for the season opener.”
Linebacker Josh Bynes (neck) returned to practice on a limited basis on Sunday. Wilks said he expects linebacker Deone Bucannon (knee) to return to practice this week and hopes wide receiver Brice Butler (foot) will do the same.
Wilks said he doesn’t know yet if quarterback Mike Glennon (forearm) will play against the Cowboys.
Rookie receiver Christian Kirk continues to impress the coaching staff and separate himself from the pack in the battle for the No. 2 receiver spot. Kirk had four catches for 49 yards and a touchdown against the Saints.
“I was pleased with Christian Kirk as well as Chad Williams,” Wilks said. “Tough catches, yardage after the catch with Chad and it all started with protection and the quarterbacks going through their progressions. I though those guys stepped up. I thought they created a little bit of separation. It’s ongoing in that room.”
While Kirk appears to be adapting well to the pro game, Wilks cautioned there is still much for the team’s 2018 second-round (No. 47) pick to learn.
“He definitely has a learning curve,” Wilks said. “All rookies do, but this guy comes to work like a pro every day. You watch him in individual period, full speed. Special teams, full speed. He creates that mindset of really trying to practice how he wants to play. It was a great confidence booster for him to be able to have the kind of game he had and hopefully he can continue to build on this.”
— Wilks said he was pleased with the play of the second-string offensive line against the Saints after a shaky performance in the preseason opener against the Los Angeles Chargers. He was also pleased to hear they had met as a unit to sort out the issues before the coaching staff had to say anything.
“I stress ownership,” Wilks said. “They have to take ownership at some point in time because during the game we’re not going to be out there. It was great that Evan Boehm and [John] Wetzel and all those guys stepped up. You could see the difference.”
— Wilks on quarterback Josh Rosen, who completed 10 of 16 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown against the Saints. “It really tells you the potential the young man has,” Wilks said, addressing the drive that ended with Kirk’s TD catch. “I think we had two penalties on that particular drive that put us back. To be able to hit the reset button, go through his progressions… he did a great job putting [the ball] on him.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to see that connection for many, many years to come.’