ARIZONA CARDINALS

Versatile Isaiah Simmons focused on mastering inside linebacker spot

Sep 6, 2021, 3:44 PM | Updated: Sep 7, 2021, 7:29 am
Cardinals LB Isaiah Simmons runs through drills during training camp Friday, July 30, 2021, in Glen...
Cardinals LB Isaiah Simmons runs through drills during training camp Friday, July 30, 2021, in Glendale. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

TEMPE — By now, you should know Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Isaiah Simmons can play much more than the position he’s labeled as on the depth chart.

When the Cardinals drafted the linebacker last year, his versatility was one of the main takeaways from his college tape.

Simmons knows he could move around the field and find success where needed. With the different skillsets he brings to the football field, there’s no doubt in linebacker’s mind he could be effective.

But nailing down the starting inside linebacker spot alongside rookie Zaven Collins is at the top of the second-year pro’s to-do list.

“The more you go about it the easier things will be, because you’ll hear a call and you’ll think conceptually,” Simmons said Monday.

“Eventually I’m sure I could learn everything … but as of right now, I’m just trying to make sure I master the inside linebacker position before I even want to branch out to other things.”

After head coach Kliff Kingsbury alluded to the pair taking over the starting inside linebacker roles in May, the Cardinals are now just days away from seeing their offseason project in action.

And what a test it will be against a Tennessee Titans team led by running back Derrick Henry and wide receivers A.J. Brown and Julio Jones.

The Titans were second across the league in rushing yards per game (168.1) last season, while landing fourth in points per game (30.7). They have no issues handing the ball off to Henry, who took home NFL rushing leader honors for a second straight season behind 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns on 378 carries, all career-highs.

Luckily for Simmons and Collins, they won’t have to face a productive Titans offense alone.

“I think anytime you have young players that are still ascending and trying to figure it out, you’re gonna have those questions [about having two young guys at ILB],” Kingsbury said.

“But we’ve liked the way they’ve worked, we like the progress we’ve seen and there’s no way to simulate what they’re gonna see on Sunday until they get out there and do it. Excited to see how they perform and they got some talented players around them so it’s not like they have to go out there and do everything.”

Inside the surprise rookie WR Rondale Moore set up for his mother

Cardinals rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore let slip back in August that he had bought his mother a house and was planning to surprise her at some point.

Moore even acknowledged it, but also knows his mother well enough.

Low-tech life for the win.

“She has no social media, never had social media,” Moore said Monday. “Probably would still have a flip phone if I didn’t get her iPhone to FaceTime me.”

That’s not to say she didn’t know about the house, however.

“She had saw the house before and she was under the impression that they accepted another offer. Told her the offer didn’t fall through and had my realtor basically say, ‘The owner’s home, they’re having an open house if you go look.’ Had some family there and surprised her that way.”

It was a surprise indeed, with a neighbor coming out of nowhere to christen the property with a Cardinals flag minutes before Moore’s mom pulled up.

EXTRA POINTS

– Kingsbury on having the 53-man roster all out practicing Monday:

“We are [happy with the team’s overall health] as of now. With the COVID stuff you never know day to day but it’s good to have all 53 guys out there and practicing.”

– Kingsbury on whether or not Moore will handle duties in the return game.

“We’re still working through that part of it to see what type or role he’s gonna have offensively and take it from there.”

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Versatile Isaiah Simmons focused on mastering inside linebacker spot