Camp K report: Pads next step as Cardinals determine identity

Jul 26, 2019, 6:21 PM | Updated: 6:22 pm

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) gets a fist bump from Cardinals wide receiver Larry ...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) gets a fist bump from Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, right, after the two connected on a pass completion during NFL football practice at State Farm Stadium Friday, July 26, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — You want to know what the Arizona Cardinals look like? So does head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

Two days of non-contact practices without pads has presented little opportunity to roll out wrinkles or begin evaluating position battles. So far, it’s been about clean operations and dusting off the playbook from spring.

Arizona will put on pads for the first time Saturday as it continues determining what skillets stand out, and relatedly, how those skillsets mold the identity of each side of the ball.

“We really don’t have a base set,” Kingsbury said Friday morning, putting down the notion that there was anything to take from personnel sets a day earlier. “We’re going to hop through different things throughout training camp and see where we’re at, what fits. It’s a lot of wait-and-see and see who our best players are, and we’ll put those guys out there.

“It’s more (that) we want to see good effort, we want to see guys retaining things from the spring. I don’t know without pads what you can really take from it other than high energy and high effort.”

There’s also the worry about injuries.

For example, outside linebacker Chandler Jones stripped rookie quarterback Kyler Murray during 11-on-11 drills on Thursday.

“I didn’t want to do that at all. That was really bad,” Jones said. “Kind of want to say I was pulled down but, I almost got cut today. We don’t want to tackle the first overall pick in practice the first day of camp.”

Fellow linebacker Terrell Suggs, with a few more years of experience on his resume (and nicks to his body), understands that Saturday marks a necessary bar the team must clear.

That doesn’t mean he likes it.

“In year 17, you’re never excited about hitting,” he said. “It’s good to knock the rust off. Just like a fighter. He’s not in the fight until he gets hit.”

Point taken. Nonetheless, padded practices will begin the process of determining how the Cardinals will look.

With that said, here are a few notable observations and news tidbits from Friday as the Cardinals took part in their second practice of training camp.

— Linebacker Haason Reddick wasn’t on the field during practice, but Kingsbury was not available after the afternoon session to speak on his absence. Second-year pro Dennis Gardeck took reps as the first team inside linebacker alongside Jordan Hicks.

— Defensive lineman Vincent Valentine left with the help of trainers after going down during 11-on-11 drills. It appeared to be a right leg injury. His absence takes away depth from a unit that is already without Robert Nkemdiche, who Kingsbury said is out of shape as he reported for camp coming off a late-season ACL injury. Valentine has 16 games of NFL experience.

— The catch of the day goes to rookie wideout Andy Isabella, who adjusted to a ball thrown short by quarterback Brett Hundley and came down with it against rookie corner and fellow second-round pick Byron Murphy.

— Of players on the PUP list, outside linebacker Brooks Reed (hip) is likely the first to return to action, according to Kingsbury.

— Safety D.J. Swearinger was present on the sidelines Friday but didn’t practice, giving way to Josh Shaw at his strong safety spot.

— A day after Trent Sherfield and Kevin White joined Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk as the first four receivers during 11-on-11 action, Sherfield and White were replaced by Damiere Byrd and rookie KeeSean Johnson.

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Western Governors University

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Western Governors University

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Camp K report: Pads next step as Cardinals determine identity