Camp K notes: Cardinals LT Humphries looks up to RT Beachum
GLENDALE, Ariz. — It hit Arizona Cardinals left tackle D.J. Humphries that, for the second year in a row, he won’t get to play opposite veteran right tackle Marcus Gilbert.
After a knee injury took 2019 from Gilbert, he opted out of the 2020 season due to coronavirus health concerns. Humphries on Sunday called that a shock.
Thankfully for them, the Cardinals added insurance with the late signing of Kelvin Beachum, a 31-year-old with 99 NFL starts under his belt with the Jets and Steelers.
Beachum hasn’t played right tackle for years, but as he switches from left to right to compete for Gilbert’s absence, there’s nobody more confident in him than Humphries.
“It’s definitely a challenge. It’s like writing with your left hand,” said Humphries, who in his young career made the switch from right tackle to left. “If anybody can make that transition, it’s Beachum. He’s a pro’s pro. He’s one of those guys, he does everything right.
“I remember him giving me a call in the offseason and trying to tell me like, he’s not going to come in and try to take over the room and… telling me it’s my room. Me and Beach train every summer in the offseason … I’ve always looked at Beach like a big brother, looking at him for advice or how to do things and looking for him for guidance.”
Now, they’re teammates, and potentially the two starting tackles. Beachum will have to beat out last year’s 12-game starter Justin Murray for the role, and rookie third-round pick Josh Jones is also in the mix if he can make up for lost time with the shortened offseason.
It’s ramping up
Monday will mark the first day of camp in pads, and it sits 27 days from the Cardinals’ 2020 opener.
Safe to say that Arizona is trying to determine how quickly it needs to make calls on position battles and roster decisions in order to get the first teams enough reps in camp.
“We’re all kind of feeling our way through that: Hey, what is that date we got to know so we can push some more reps here or there?” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said, adding that the next two weeks will be “crucial for guys who are in competitions or are trying to make the team.”
— Receiver DeAndre Hopkins was on the field but not working with the team Sunday afternoon as the Cardinals sidelined him with left hamstring tightness. Kingsbury said it was a precautionary move.
— After being bounced around from starting cornerback to nickel and sometimes between the two in the same game, second-year defensive back Byron Murphy is solidly a nickelback this year. Ranking third on the team with 1,105 snaps last year and after being picked on as a rookie while holding his head above water, the Cardinals are excited to see how he progresses. “I think Byron definitely was thrown in there last year. He was expecting to play more of a nickel role for us last year. There’s definitely a comfort level after going through that,” Kingsbury said.
— Kingsbury said he expects the NFL to play this coming season with some sort of pumped in crowd noise with fans not allowed to attend games due to the coronavirus. How much is still to-be-decided it seems. On defense, middle linebacker Jordan Hicks brought the risk of play-calls being picked up by opponents to defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s attention last week. They may need to switch signs. However, Arizona practiced with loud crowd noise Sunday to prepare for the season.
— D.J. Humphries on what Kingsbury has up his sleeve as a play-caller despite a shortened offseason: “Hey, I’ll tell you something: The guy’s the wizard. But I won’t tell you anything that we’re doing. We’re just running the left and we’re running the ball right. And we’re throwing the ball deep.”
— D.J. Humphries on quarterback Kyler Murray not naming his dog after the left tackle as he previously thought: “It was tough at first. He broke it down to me, he told me his dog’s name was Swoosh, and I realized it was a business decision. I was outbidded by Nike. It hurt. It was one of those things, I felt like he could have told me and I could have put in another bid. Powerhouse like Nike comes in, throws in a few incentives, a few bonuses here and there. Hard to compete with those guys when you’re a small business owner.”