Cardinals notebook: Kliff Kingsbury looking on plus side of early absences
Jul 29, 2021, 5:27 PM
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
GLENDALE — Day 3 of the Arizona Cardinals’ training camp was missing some notable faces on Thursday.
While wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and defensive end J.J. Watt are dealing with their respective ailments, a handful of their teammates also weren’t present after being placed in COVID protocols.
With six more additions to the reserve/COVID list Thursday, the Cardinals have a total of nine players currently in protocols.
There’s still work to be done, however, and Arizona’s coaching staff is looking at the positives.
“For us, this early in camp when we’re not even in pads, to get the young guys reps we think is huge,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Thursday. “It’s been good to slide those young guys in and see what they can do early.”
“I’m a glass half full guy,” he added. “So I think you can look at it that way but obviously to have it happen now and be able to have some of those guys be cleared through most of the season would be a plus, particularly some of the veterans that you know are gonna be ready to roll when we get to Week 1.”
Vance Joseph: LB Chandler Jones in a ‘good place’
There may be rumors swirling over the head of Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones, but he isn’t letting that disrupt his training camp.
And from the looks of it, the linebacker is back to being the jovial voice among the defense that he has been since arriving in the desert.
“He’s been fine. He’s in great shape first of all. He’s happy, he’s Chan,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said Thursday. “He won a lot today as far as straight rushes. He’s in a good place. It’s fun to have him in camp and moving forward.”
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Jones is unhappy with his current contract situation and requested a trade this offseason. Fowler added the team does not want to trade the linebacker.
Next step, live reps
The Cardinals made some noise early this offseason by naming rookie linebacker Zaven Collins as the team’s starting MIKE backer alongside Isaiah Simmons, usurping linebacker Jordan Hicks at the position.
Collins, who loves added pressure, has more than enough to balance as Arizona navigates through the rest of the offseason and training camp.
Joseph has seen notable improvement from the first-rounder out of Tulsa, but still has another bridge to cross in his progression as an NFL player.
“I think just reps, just seeing different concepts,” Joseph said Thursday when asked about Collins’ challenges so far. “As far as his assignments, he works so hard on that part of it. That’s going to be fine. It’s just having reps, full speed reps versus NFL players, that’s going to be his challenge. But as far as his job, he’ll be fine doing that.”
“He has embraced it, he’s studied,” Joseph added. “He’s worked really hard at learning his assignments and being a leader of the defense. … He’s made some mistakes but he’s made more plays than mistakes. It’s our job as a staff to make his job easy and unlock his body and play.”
– Kingsbury on linebacker Dennis Gardeck’s ACL rehab:
“He’s ahead of schedule we feel like. He’s been working his tail off, saw him up there all summer, but I don’t have an exact date. We’re gonna be really smart with him, he’s a guy you have to save him from himself a little bit because he’s such a hard worker and has that type of mentality, but I really like the progress we’ve seen during his rehab.”