Calais Campbell says he’s working hard to shed the ‘nice’ label

Aug 6, 2015, 9:58 PM | Updated: 10:00 pm
Defensive end Calais Campbell readies for the snap at Arizona Cardinals Training Camp in Glendale W...
Defensive end Calais Campbell readies for the snap at Arizona Cardinals Training Camp in Glendale Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. (Photo: Vince Marotta/Arizona Sports)
(Photo: Vince Marotta/Arizona Sports)

Standing on the precipice of a new season, many things remain the same for the Arizona Cardinals, while certain elements contributing to the build-up of a new year are a touch different.  Stars such as Carson Palmer, Patrick Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald — just to name a few — are back and ready to once again lead the Cardinals in their pursuit of an NFC West title.  Meanwhile, new faces like the one of Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher, step into recently minted career roles that will bring with it a bevy of new experiences and challenges.

Preparing for his eighth NFL season, Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell joined Paul Calvisi on Big Red Rage on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday evening to discuss, among other things, his new defensive coordinator; a man Campbell firmly believes is ready to pick up the torch left by former Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.

“He’s has a lot of confidence, he’s been controlling the room and making sure he holds us accountable,” Campbell said.  “I’ve been really impressed with the job he’s doing…it’s fun to be out there because he’s very passionate and you’ve got to love his passion when he’s on the field and we kind of feed off that, so he’s definitely a natural leader.

“Everyone believes in what we’re doing and the plays he’s calling.  The confidence he has is contagious.”

Though he’s never been one to lack confidence on the football field, having averaged over six sacks per season over his last six seasons (extending a franchise record he himself has set), Campbell is looking to rise to his coaches and teammates’ challenge to provide more production in 2015.  As odd as it may sound, a major hurdle for Campbell in achieving a greater level of production is the fact the 28-year-old doesn’t play with enough of an edge.  In fact, some, including Campbell himself, say the giant defensive end is too gentle.

“Sometimes the nice demeanor allows you to kind of relax and take whatever comes instead of always being pissed off and wanting more and more and [treating it] like it’s never good enough,” Campbell said.  “I’m trying to develop that now and I think I’ve done a good job.  It’s not even about being pissed off, it’s just that competition factor.  Every time I’m on the field, I want to demolish who’s in front of me.”

Sustaining that edge, of course, is easier said than done.  Campbell, by his very nature, isn’t prone to tapping into that darker side of his personality.  However, considering he’s coming off his first Pro Bowl season in 2014, it wouldn’t be wise to bet against Campbell and his determination to live up to these expectations.  According to him, the consistency he’s been asked to play with has taken on a clearer definition.

“It means every time I’m on the field, I have to be dominant,” Campbell said.  “I really like what coach is doing trying to motivate me.  A coach’s job is to get the best out of their players, and so every time he speaks to me and is trying to get me to elevate my game, all it does is make me want to get better.”

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