Camp K report: Cardinals look ahead as training camp comes to a close
GLENDALE, Ariz. — We’re officially one step closer to meaningful football in the Valley.
The Arizona Cardinals training camp concluded Sunday afternoon, leaving just two more preseason games on the docket before the Detroit Lions come to State Farm Stadium for the season opener Sept. 8.
There’s no doubt it will be an uphill climb for the team as they look to resurrect themselves back to relevancy following a 3-13 season last year.
Kliff Kingsbury represents the third head coach in as many seasons for the Cardinals, implementing yet another new system for players to grasp.
But the feeling in the locker room is evidently different than it was just a year ago.
Even from the start of training camp to Saturday, Kingsbury has seen a change in his personnel.
“Just their understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish in all three phases,” Kingsbury said when asked what he’s seen from his players over the course of Camp K. “Just trying to get better everyday. … After [the last preseason game] I noticed practice has improved this week and we’ve got to be able to execute whatever is called.”
While injuries, among other things, have already hit the team on both sides of the football, the players in the locker room are feeling more energized, eager to get to the games that count.
“This is probably the most fresh I’ve ever felt during training camp,” running back David Johnson said following practice. “Body feels great, mind feels great. Kliff has done a great job of keeping us relaxed and when we have our down time guys are making sure they’re doing everything they can to keep their body fresh.
“Especially as an offense, I feel everyone is learning the offense really well. Kyler [Murray] knows it already, so it’s going to be very good for us once the real season comes around.”
Players seem much more comfortable, even with the overhaul of the offense, just a year removed from former head coach Steve Wilks and the old coaching staff.
Especially guys like second-year running back Chase Edmonds, who’s growing as a more complete back by the day thanks to an impressive camp.
“I’m just trying to be the best player I can be,” Edmonds said. “I think Year One was more so walkig on eggshells, I didn’t really know my plays … I didn’t really know how it was going to go in training camp.
“Year Two is all about building confidence, really showing I can showcase my abilities, versatility. Really just find a way to get on the field.”
Edmonds has clearly taken a step forward in the offense, getting more work with the 1’s than he did last season.
Training camp also shined a light on the potential of the Cardinals’ rookies — not named Murray — who figure to be an integral part of the team.
“It’s been good to see the young guys get a lot of reps,” Kingsbury said. “Their development has been huge because we needed them in certain areas.”
Next week, the Cardinals head back to their training facility in Tempe as they begin game prep for their preseason bout against the Minnesota Vikings.
Believe in the new regime or not, the regular season is closing in.
– Patrick Peterson on his plan moving forward following training camp:
“Making sure I’m staying on top of my conditioning. Obviously getting into the playbook … because once I get back there’s no getting into a feel. There’s going to be live action getting ready for the New York Giants.”
Peterson will miss the first six games of the season as he serves his PED suspension.
– Fitzgerald regarding former Cardinals WR coach Darryl Drake’s funeral on Saturday:
“It was a sad day but I was really happy I was able to be there and celebrate coach Drake’s life. He meant a lot to me, meant a lot to people. Obviously there’s 32 football teams in the National Football League, we all wear different colors, live in different cities but it’s really a fraternity at the end of the day.
“To see how many other coaching staffs, teams that actually had games yesterday … just shows you the profound impact he had on people’s lives, and he’s going to be dearly missed.”