Cardinals OLBs Gardeck, Kennard use boxing to assist with pass rushing

Jul 24, 2022, 12:00 PM | Updated: 12:00 pm

Dennis Gardeck #45 of the Arizona Cardinals pressures the play of P.J. Walker #6 of the Carolina Pa...

Dennis Gardeck #45 of the Arizona Cardinals pressures the play of P.J. Walker #6 of the Carolina Panthers in the second quarter of the game at State Farm Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Outside linebacker Devon Kennard joined his Arizona Cardinals teammate Dennis Gardeck with a new training routine this offseason: boxing.

On Friday’s edition of Cardinals Flight Plan, Gardeck says he’s been boxing for four years, disclosing during a press conference earlier this offseason his earliest boxing video was from 2019.

He said it’s a way to get cardio while also forcing himself to think when he’s tired.

“It’s eyes, hands, hips and feet, which translates to football,” Gardeck told reporters in June. “And then cardio-wise, it’s a little bit better than just going out there and running gassers, where you can kind of just turn your mind off and go. That’s not football. Football is being able to read and react.”

Kennard echoed that sentiment on the show, and there is a clip of him saying, “There’s a two-minute drill right there,” after a set.

Gardeck and Kennard have trained together since the former entered the league, Kennard said.

The two said they push each other every offseason.

“We’re able to talk about each other’s game from a place where we’re both trying to get each other better” Gardeck said on the show. “I think it’s very important who you surround yourself with.”

Kennard is entering his ninth NFL season and third with the Cardinals, while Gardeck — fresh off signing a three-year contract this offseason — is in Year 5 with Arizona.

They are in a position group that lost franchise sacks leader Chandler Jones in free agency.

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said on Flight Plan he expects Gardeck to get back to his 2020 form, when the pass rusher had seven sacks.

Gardeck tore his ACL at the end of that season and missed the opening three games in 2021.

Joseph said Jones’ exit will open more chances for Gardeck on the edge.

Kennard, meanwhile, said he is relishing the chance to contribute more than he has as a Cardinal thus far.

“I’m very confident in my own ability, so I don’t mind grabbing a young guy and teaching him everything I know,” Kennard said. “But when we go out on the field, we’re still competing for the same job.

“My focus is being a star in my role.”

Gardeck, Kennard and Markus Golden are the three most experienced pass rushers on the team in Joseph’s system, while Arizona also has rookie Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders along with second-year player Victor Dimukeje.

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