CARDINALS CORNER

Kamu Grugier-Hill’s familiarity with Arizona made Cardinals the right fit

Nov 4, 2022, 2:32 PM
Arizona Cardinals ILB Kamu Grugier-Hill during practice on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler...
Arizona Cardinals ILB Kamu Grugier-Hill during practice on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

TEMPE — The Arizona Cardinals didn’t wheel and deal this past NFL trade deadline, much to the chagrin of fans.

They still ended up with a new face on the roster, though, in inside linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill when the mountain of trade dust settled on Wednesday.

While they were unable to make a deal with the Houston Texans — something defensive coordinator Vance Joseph alluded to on Thursday — GM Steve Keim was still able to snag Grugier-Hill through free agency following his release from the team just over a week ago.

No longer on a Texans team out of sorts and staring at a 1-6-1 record, the linebacker with 20 starts over the past season and a half now turns his attention to picking up Joseph’s system in a hurry.

Luckily for KGH, one thing he won’t have to do is learn the area, having spent a good amount of time in Arizona and with physical therapist consultant Brett Fischer after undergoing surgery and rehab in the area back in 2019.

“I just love Arizona, honestly,” Grugier-Hill said Friday. “I love being here, I spend every offseason here. I’m very familiar with it and on top of that, I got a lot of close friends here in (Zach Ertz) and (Dennis Gardeck).

“Ever since I’ve been out here, I’ve been close with Fisch. Any time anything goes wrong, I call Fisch no matter where I am. To have him here — I always came back in the offseason and did some work with him, train with him a little bit.”

Grugier-Hill lands with the Cardinals after making a name for himself in Houston for over a season and a half.

In 2021, the linebacker loaded up the stat sheet behind a team-leading 108 tackles, 13 of which were for losses, to go along with three sacks, an interception, three passes defensed, two forced fumbles and five QB hits.

Of his best performances, the seven-year veteran went nuclear in Week 13 against the Indianapolis Colts last year, posting a franchise record 20 tackles and playing 86% of the available defensive snaps.

Grugier-Hill has already had a similar showing this season, racking up 18 tackles in a Week 1 tie against — you guessed it — the Colts.

But as his time with Houston rolled on, Grugier-Hill wasn’t seeing the field as consistently as he had prior. In what would end up being his final game in a Texans uniform, the linebacker recorded just 18 defensive snaps (32%) as the team opted to give rookie Christian Harris more playing time.

Only twice last season did he see fewer than 72% of available defensive snaps in a given game. In his final six matchups with Houston, Grugier-Hill saw more than 72% of snaps just once (Week 1).

The decrease in playing time ultimately led to the two sides going their separate ways, with Grugier-Hill reportedly asking for his release and the Texans granting the request.

The plan now for Grugier-Hill is getting him fully engulfed in all things Cardinals sooner rather than later.

That starts with special teams work, diving into the playbook and a lot of watching/shadowing his new teammates.

“Just seeing Vance’s defense, I want to be a part of that,” Grugier-Hill said. “They’re flying around every week, playing fast, and I think that’s what I try and do. I think I could help out there.

“My playstyle is a little similar to what I feel like they’re looking for,” he added. “Just try to play fast in the pass game, fly around in the run game and just fly around from sideline to sideline, honestly.”

While he may not see the field as much as he or others would hope this weekend after arriving to the training facility Thursday afternoon, the target is to get him closer to full speed by the time the Cardinals travel to the Los Angeles to face the Rams.

That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a shot at some kind of action when the Cardinals take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 9.

“Right now, he’s covering kicks,” Joseph said. “He’s going to be a backup for us, but he’s played a bunch of football, especially on third downs.

“We’ll see moving forward how he fits, but he’s definitely engaged, intelligent. He’s played good ball in the past and he wanted to be here. That’s important also. He’s a good fit for us.”

Life Changer Loans
Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins warms up ahead of practice on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Greg Dortch runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals TE Trey McBride looks on during practice on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Greg Dortch and S Chris Banjo run through drills during practice on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals S Chris Banjo runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals star backer Isaiah Simmons looks up at the sky during practice on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Rondale Moore runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins and CB Marco Wilson run through drills during practice on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals star backer Isaiah Simmons runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals DL Trysten Hill runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals DL Eric Banks runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals ILB Kamu Grugier-Hill runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals DL Manny Jones runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals ILB Kamu Grugier-Hill runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WRs coach/associate head coach Shawn Jefferson runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

Cardinals Corner

Arizona Cardinals OL Kelvin Beachum gives back to Champion Schools: South Mountain on Monday, Dec. ...
Tyler Drake

Giving back more than just checking boxes for Cardinals’ Kelvin Beachum

Kelvin Beachum has made it his mission in giving back to the local communities around him in hopes of setting up the future for success.
21 hours ago
Lecitus Smith #54 of the Arizona Cardinals at SoFi Stadium on November 13, 2022 in Inglewood, Calif...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals’ Lecitus Smith: People mistake Kyler Murray’s passion for ball

Cardinals OL Lecitus Smith was the latest teammate to come to the defense of QB Kyler Murray following recent criticism from Patrick Peterson.
4 days ago
Arizona Cardinals OLB Myjai Sanders (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...
Tyler Drake

How the Cardinals should attack the final 5 games

With little hope of turning the season around, it's time for the Arizona Cardinals to turn the page and look to the future.
21 hours ago
Paris Johnson Jr. #77 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in action against the Northwestern Wildcats during...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals nab OL Paris Johnson in Brugler’s 1st mock draft for 2023

The Athletic's Dane Brugler graced us with his first mock of the year on Wednesday and has the Cardinals taking OSU's Paris Johnson at No. 7.
6 days ago
Arizona Cardinals S Jalen Thompson points during practice on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyl...
Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals’ Jalen Thompson left off ESPN’s under-25 ranking

Safety Jalen Thompson has been a constant within the Arizona Cardinals defense over the past couple seasons.
6 days ago
Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray looks on during practice on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyl...
Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals enter Week 13 with minute chance at making 2022 NFL playoffs

Mathematically, the Arizona Cardinals somehow still have a sliver of postseason hope remaining in the 2022 season.
7 days ago
Kamu Grugier-Hill’s familiarity with Arizona made Cardinals the right fit