Cardinals could play Zaven Collins and Marco Wilson in preseason finale

Aug 25, 2022, 4:30 PM
Arizona Cardinals' Bernhard Seikovits makes a catch as Zaven Collins (25) defends during the NFL fo...

Arizona Cardinals' Bernhard Seikovits makes a catch as Zaven Collins (25) defends during the NFL football team's training camp at State Farm Stadium, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

For second-year Arizona Cardinals Zaven Collins and Marco Wilson, it says something that the team might use the preseason finale to see more. Or at least to teach them more.

For Cody Ford, who was acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills on Monday, playing Saturday at the Tennessee Titans is simply about getting his first and only game reps of the preseason with his new team.

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said his staff will decide whether or not to play the two young defenders. Ford is expected to step in at guard. That will give him a little more comfort in the offense after he joined the team for joint practices with the Titans this week and due to injuries, jumped in with the starters.

But for Collins, the projected starting middle linebacker, and Wilson, who will certainly be in the cornerback rotation, earning a few snaps in the Week 3 preseason game might be a little more worrying.

“I think the more football they can play, the better,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters in Tennessee on Thursday. “We’ll talk about that tonight and see if that’s the plan.”

Collins and Wilson played 18 and 16 snaps, respectively, in the first two preseason games.

Collins has been hot-and-cold, eager to stick his nose in a gap for run support or to blitz, but at times, slow to find his place in pass coverage.

Meanwhile, Wilson lost the No. 2 cornerback job to veteran Antonio Hamilton before Hamilton stayed behind in Arizona as his team traveled to Tennessee this week.

Hamilton’s status — what is wrong and how long he might be out — is not known. Kingsbury said Wednesday an update will be given by the first injury report prior to a Week 1 game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 11.

Obviously, those are the most high-profile cases of who’s in and who’s out for a game where most of the starters will sit.

“We want to see how some of these young guys close up camp,” Kingsbury said. “There’s still some spots to be had. They’re going to get a great look and get a lot of reps and see how they close it out.”


— Kingsbury said quarterbacks Trace McSorley and Jarrett Guarantano will split reps as they did most recently. McSorley took on the majority of the snaps before being replaced midway through the second half last week in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

— Ford spoke to reporters for the first time as a Cardinal. He said his head was swimming between getting trading, flying to Arizona and then heading back east with the team. The college teammate of Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray said there’s another “surreal” connection with his new team: Left tackle D.J. Humphries, who went to college at Florida.

“Not to be like a fanboy or fangirl, but growing up in high school and stuff (in Pineville, La.) before I went to college at OU, I was a big Gators fan,” Ford said. “Watching (Humphries) on Saturdays in Florida and then seeing him throughout his career and now working next to him, it’s crazy. It’s so many surreal things happening with me being here.”

— Cardinals right tackle Kelvin Beachum on what he’s seen in practice playing against outside linebacker Dennis Gardeck:

“He looks like he did before he got hurt …. very slippery, extremely fast. He’s understood how to time up his get-off … I think he learned from (former Cardinals OLB Chandler Jones) as far as being able to experiment in practices, and he’s doing a lot of experimenting, putting his body in places, his steps in the way he approaches tackles in a lot of different places.”

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