Cardinals’ Zaven Collins sees jump in NFL acumen as training camp wraps

Aug 26, 2021, 3:45 PM
Cardinals rookie LB Zaven Collins waves to the crowd during training camp on Sunday, Aug. 15, in Gl...
Cardinals rookie LB Zaven Collins waves to the crowd during training camp on Sunday, Aug. 15, in Glendale. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

GLENDALE — After a month of training camp, the Arizona Cardinals wrapped things up Thursday at State Farm Stadium.

For rookies like linebacker Zaven Collins, camp provided yet another step to traverse along his NFL path.

While Collins had an expectation of what camp would bring to the table, he has seen his game elevate more rapidly. The convenience of Arizona’s bubble in Glendale allowed Collins to focus on football and football only.

“I’d say [I’ve picked up] a lot, probably five-fold of what I knew in minicamp, because of just the small things, certain techniques,” Collins said Thursday. “It’s more of like technique, working out, rather than mental error work, stuff like that. We’re kinda moving on to that stage, which we have to, but it’s been good so far.

“And then you know the last couple days, J.J.’s been back so we got to work with him and some other guys have been back so it’s really nice.”

Any work is good work for the rookie, who is already slated to start at MIKE linebacker this season over two-year starter and last year’s captain Jordan Hicks.

Some may view the situation as not ideal, with even more pressure thrown Collins’ way. The linebacker, who said after being drafted that he loves the added pressure, is not of them.

In fact, they are treating the scenario “like it never happened” after clearing the air this offseason.

“Jordan, he’s awesome, he’s a great dude, he’s a great man,” Collins said. “He gives you great advice every day … because he’s been there and he’s done that. He’s actually been a great leader and role model for the team. He’s absolutely been super helpful and we have a good relationship. We try to work with each other every day.”

Kingsbury keeping things conservative in preseason finale vs. Saints

Before the Cardinals can set their sights squarely on their Week 1 matchup against the Tennessee Titans, there’s still one last preseason game to play.

The final gameplan as to who will play and who won’t has yet to be decided, though it seems more and more likely Arizona’s starters won’t get any run.

The only clarity surrounding Saturday’s exhibition surrounds starting quarterback Kyler Murray and rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury believes Murray is more than ready for the regular season, while Moore is dealing with something minor and will be held out of the contest.

“Tomorrow we’ll finalize, but we’ll air on the side of being conservative,” Kingsbury said.

With Murray sidelined, both Colt McCoy and Chris Streveler are in line to garner the snaps at QB.

Of the two, McCoy has cemented himself in the backup signal caller role, completing 19 of his 27 pass attempts for 182 yards and an interception this preseason.

The final exhibition of the year also gives those fighting for a roster spot one last chance to make a case for themselves.

“I think we’ll take it into this game and next week, Tennessee prep and finalize [the 53-man roster],” Kingsbury said. “We have a pretty good idea but there’s still some guys pushing each other.”


– Kingsbury is hopeful linemen Justin Pugh and Jordan Phillips will be out of COVID-19 protocols Monday. Cornerback Robert Alford was placed on the reserve list Thursday.

– Starting running back Chase Edmonds did not practice Thursday with what Kingsbury classified as something “minor.”

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