Camp K notes: Cardinals want ‘biggest human’ Leki Fotu to be a bully

Aug 20, 2020, 12:22 PM | Updated: 12:24 pm
Arizona Cardinals' Adam Shuler strips the ball away from Leki Fotu (95) during an NFL football trai...

Arizona Cardinals' Adam Shuler strips the ball away from Leki Fotu (95) during an NFL football training camp Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

It remains to be seen what 2019 fourth-round pick Leki Fotu can provide for the Arizona Cardinals this season.

Corey Peters and Jordan Phillips are givens for the defensive line, while Zach Allen and Jonathan Bullard are likely contributors at end. The Cardinals are trying to allow their two rookie defensive tackles, Fotu and Rashard Lawrence, to play catch-up.

What we do know about Fotu is this: He’s a big, big man.

“Leki’s the biggest person I’ve ever seen,” said Phillips, who sees himself daily and is listed as 6-foot-6 and 341 pounds. “I don’t get around people that make me feel small. You just look at him, how are you this big, how do you move this well?”

On Thursday, defensive line coach Brentson Buckner echoed the similarities between Fotu and Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Vita Vea. Arizona general manager Steve Keim made that comparison back in April, and Buckner coached Vea in 2018.

Fotu has a learning curve. He is making a switch from a two-gap defense at Utah to a more aggressive rushing role for an Arizona defense led by coordinator Vance Joseph.

The key to unlocking Fotu’s athleticism, Buckner said, is reworking his body to play a more explosive position after the lineman mostly played as a nose tackle at Utah.

“He wants to be coached. Even when he’s right, he’s trying to find me a way to tell him he’s wrong,” Buckner said of Fotu.

“The thing I want with him, I said, ‘Leki, this is what I want you to realize: You’re going to be one of the biggest men in the NFL. You’re stronger than everybody. Be a bully. It’s free to be a bully in the NFL. Realize can’t nobody whoop you. Be a bully, get mad, tear somebody’s arm off.”

Extra points

— Receiver Christian Kirk, linebacker De’Vondre Campbell and Phillips were not present during the team’s open portion of practice. Right guard J.R. Sweezy and backup offensive tackle Brett Toth were present but not participating. It is likely that those players were taking veterans days off, but head coach Kliff Kingsbury wasn’t available to reporters after Thursday practice.

— Yes, receiver DeAndre Hopkins was again at practice as he continues to slowly ramp up action while dealing with left hamstring tightness.

— Arizona coaches and players have said the pace at this year’s camp might be faster than last year’s for two reasons: 1) Because it’s the second year in the offense and 2 (Kingsbury wants to up the tempo just to get his guys in shape to hit the ground running without a preseason.

“It’s crazy fast,” Phillips said of the offensive pace. “Kliff has them doing stuff that is going to give anybody problems. Without giving anything away, it’s just fast. It’s something I’ve never experienced before in training camp.”

Arizona Cardinals

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward (35) intercepts a pass intended for Pittsburgh Steele...
Arizona Sports

PFF: Arizona Cardinals should target CB Charvarius Ward in free agency

Kansas City Chiefs CB Charvarius Ward is a name the Cardinals should consider looking at in free agency, according to one PFF analyst.
15 hours ago
Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) celebrates during the first half of an NFL wild-ca...
Wills Rice

Report: Rams’ Aaron Donald fined for run-in with Cardinals’ D.J. Humphries

Report: Rams DT Aaron Donald has been fined $10,815 for his incident with Cardinals OT D.J. Humphries in Monday's Wild Card loss.
15 hours ago
Iowa offensive lineman Tyler Linderbaum (65) looks to make a block during the first half of an NCAA...
Alex Weiner

Cardinals select Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum in latest PFF mock draft

Pro Football Focus had the Arizona Cardinals selecting Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum in its first mock draft since Arizona's season ended.
15 hours ago
Kelvin Beachum #68 of the Arizona Cardinals leads teammates onto the field before the NFL game agai...
Alex Weiner

Arizona Cardinals positions of need: Offensive line breakdown

Right guard Max Garcia is the only Arizona Cardinals starting offensive linemen who is an upcoming free agent.
3 days ago
Linebacker Karlos Dansby #58 of the Arizona Cardinals claps in the second half against the St. Loui...
Arizona Sports

Former Cardinals LB Karlos Dansby: Moment was too big for them

Former Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby said Arizona was not able to slow the game down when it started to slip in Monday's playoff loss. 
3 days ago
Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones (55) and Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker J...
Wills Rice

Arizona Cardinals positions of need: A look at linebacker

The Cardinals have used their last two first round draft selections on linebackers, yet the position still seems to be one of need.
3 days ago
Camp K notes: Cardinals want ‘biggest human’ Leki Fotu to be a bully