Cardinals notebook: Is it time to consider Isaiah Simmons a safety?

Jul 27, 2022, 6:51 PM | Updated: Jul 28, 2022, 7:22 am
Arizona Cardinals Isaiah Simmons runs sprints during the NFL football team's training camp Wednesda...

Arizona Cardinals Isaiah Simmons runs sprints during the NFL football team's training camp Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE — Death, taxes and Isaiah Simmons working with the safeties this offseason.

For an athlete expected to stand alongside fellow inside linebacker Zaven Collins this season, Simmons has found himself in a totally different position group altogether.

Wednesday was the latest edition of Simmons working elsewhere, as the linebacker was again seen mostly with the safeties during the open portion of training camp.

It’s become the new norm for Simmons and those in attendance as the third-year pro was a mainstay with the safeties during OTAs and minicamp.

Despite the questions surrounding the decision to not keep Simmons fixed in one role, head coach Kliff Kingsbury says it all boils down to maximizing Simmons’ talent.

“I don’t feel like we’re stunting his growth (at inside linebacker),” the head coach said Wednesday. “I think the way we’ve adjusted our defense is going to play to his strengths.

“He’s a guy that when he sees the ball … from a little bit farther away like he did in college and just attack the football or be on the line or blitz like you saw him do against Dallas, he can play fast, not overthink it and just go,” Kingsbury added. “When he’s been in that role, he’s made big-time impact plays for us and that’s what we’re going to try to do just expand that role for him.”

Still, having a player classified as a linebacker away from his primary role is quite the head turner.

And while it brings with it more questions than answers, his DB teammates are liking what Simmons is bringing to the secondary.

“It’s big time,” safety Jalen Thompson said. “He was working with the linebackers last year, so having him with the safeties is only going to help improve him that much more.

“You see what he can do already on the field so he’s going to add a big contribution to the team.”

James Conner on the potential of playing a Super Bowl in Arizona: ‘It means everything’

The Cardinals are in a unique position as they gear up for the 2022 regular season.

After watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams win Super Bowls in their own home, Arizona has the opportunity to make it a three-peat with the big game slated for State Farm Stadium.

While a few Cardinals have already said they aren’t paying too much attention to a potential game on the complete other end of the schedule, the thought of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in the desert isn’t lost on running back James Conner.

“It means everything,” he said Wednesday. “It’s been on my mind. We want to be the team here playing in it.

“I don’t want to think about anyone else using our locker room getting ready for this game. That’s our locker room, so it means everything to us and that’s what we want to do this year.”

And despite winning the Super Bowl being the ultimate goal for every team entering the year, Thompson can sense something among his teammates.

“This year it’s a different feeling in the locker room,” he said. “Guys are energized, guys are ready to go. It’s looking pretty good. Good first day.”

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Cardinals notebook: Is it time to consider Isaiah Simmons a safety?