Cardinals notebook: Chandler Jones reports to camp; vaccine progress
GLENDALE, Ariz. — While it was only the run/conditioning test for all non-quarterbacks and rookies, the first day of 2021 Arizona Cardinals training camp is in the books.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said that everyone who participated on Tuesday passed their run test, while the quarterbacks performed their conditioning exam last week with the rookies.
A couple of notable names in attendance for Day 1 of Cardinals training camp were linebackers Chandler Jones — who reportedly requested a trade this offseason — and Jordan Hicks.
“Obviously a phenomenal football player,” Kingsbury said of Jones. “Just all excited to have him back and healthy and can’t wait to watch him this season. … He looks to be in great shape, so really, really excited to have him back.
“We missed him last year when he was injured and he brings such a presence in the locker room and on the field, to get him back… it’s going to be big for us.”
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, however, was not at State Farm Stadium and was left off the alpha/numerical roster given out by the team.
“One of the best players of all time,” Kingsbury said. “The ball’s in his court. We feel like we got great depth in that group regardless. We’ll have a plan here either way.”
“I don’t want to get into exact percentages but we’ve made a lot of progress over the last week and I see that thing headed in the right direction,” Kingsbury said.
The head coach added that his entire coaching staff has been vaccinated and that his role is to just provide the best scientific data to the team.
“Yeah, if we wanted to be in the building, we had to be vaccinated,” Kingsbury said when asked if it was an ultimatum for his coaching staff.
Edmonds said he is vaccinated, but wouldn’t elaborate much beyond that.
“I myself, I don’t ask nobody why or why not they’re vaccinated,” he said. “I chose to get mine for my own personal reasons. I kind of just leave it at that.”
RALLY THE VALLEY
There’s no denying that the Phoenix Suns’ run to the NBA Finals in 2020-21 galvanized Valley sports fans who have been starving for a championship since the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks.
Those emotional ties spread to the likes of Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds, who is friends with Suns wing Mikal Bridges and saw him over this past weekend.
“Just to congratulate those boys on what they did for the city and what they did for themselves first and foremost, it was tremendous,” Edmonds said. “Tremendous energy and it brought back a sports vibe to Phoenix and I think it was great for the city man. …
“I wish I could have went to one of the playoff games. I was out in California training, but just to see it on TV, you could hear the difference in the noise from one game at a different venue as opposed to when it was in Phoenix. Rally the Valley, man, it was something special and it was really cool to see.”
Perhaps the most influenced Cardinal was Scottsdale native Christian Kirk, who reminisced on his childhood days as a fan when both teams were competing in the Super Bowl and Western Conference Finals.
“That’s what the Valley’s about,” Kirk said. “I always talk about it back when the Cardinals went to the Super Bowl and I was a young kid, we used to have block parties watching the playoffs and watching the Super Bowl. The Valley just rallies around their sports teams, especially when they’re having success.
“It wasn’t surprising, seeing how energetic everybody was and passionate when the Suns made their push and it was awesome to watch, awesome to see.”
Now as the sports calendar turns from the NBA to the NFL season, both Kirk and Edmonds are chomping at the bit to get a chance to duplicate what the Suns did with the Cardinals.
“Of course we sat back as Arizona Cardinals football players, and we were like, ‘We have a great opportunity to do the same thing,'” Kirk said. “It’s definitely a motivation for us and we wanna do the same thing for the Valley.”
“Obviously the pressure is going to be on the Cardinals now to get something similar done to that,” Edmonds added. “We’re not paying attention to the outside noise.
“We know what we have to do, we know the expectations that we have for ourselves first and foremost and that’s kind of what we just got to go with. Day by day and just getting better.”