Kelvin Beachum, a man of many hats for the Arizona Cardinals
TEMPE — Starter. CEO of the offensive line. Mentor. Leader. Popcorn aficionado. Sometimes mistaken by Lecitus Smith as his dad.
When Kelvin Beachum gets brought up in conversation, the titles are endless, meaningful and sometimes self-inflicted in describing the offensive tackle.
That alone shows just how important he is to this Arizona Cardinals team.
The last original starter remaining in the trenches, Beachum has had to adapt with the revolving door of injuries that has ripped through the O-line on the regular in 2022.
Now, one man can’t play all five spots along the line, but he can do all he can to put those around him in the best possible spot to succeed.
“He’s like the CEO of that (OL) room,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Friday. “He’s a big business guy, has all these investments, made a lot of money away from the field, so he definitely has a calming presence. He sees it from a very analytical standpoint.
“He’s a guy that will send me video clips saying, ‘Hey, we should put this in, or what do you think about this?’ … He’s a guy you can trust, and I think the entire line understands that when he says something, it’s thought out and it’s usually the right thing.”
That couldn’t be more evident when prepping for the Los Angeles Rams pass rush with rookie Lecitus Smith making his first NFL start in place of the injured Will Hernandez, who currently sits on injured reserve with a pectoral issue.
Getting an inside look from HBO’s Hard Knocks, Beachum was that mentor Smith needed over the course of the week, helping build his confidence while keeping him accountable for his mistakes.
That mentorship paid off this past Sunday, when the combination of Smith and Beachum made Aaron Donald a nonfactor throughout the matchup.
“It’s really cool being over there with him,” Smith said Thursday. “It feels like in a weird way that I’m being coached by my dad. You don’t want to mess up because he’s really going to get on you.
“You don’t want him getting on you or anything like that, but also, you do a good job and he kind of just gives you a pat on the back like, ‘Good job, bro.’ … It feels good. He’s a true vet, so it’s really cool playing next to him.”
Sometimes, though, that calming presence Beachum brings has to take a backseat to more pressing matters at hand.
Take Sunday for example, when Beachum was seen chirping at Rams linebacker Leonard Floyd over the course of the Cardinals’ win.
Down the normal enforcer in Hernandez, Beachum brought the nastiness. The line followed suit, keeping Aaron Donald sack-less in a quick-fire offense behind backup Colt McCoy.
“That was the first time I had ever seen that,” Smith said of Beachum. “As a matter of fact, he was going back and forth and I was trying to pull him away like, ‘Beach, come on. We got to get in the huddle.’ He pushed me off like, “You go over there. I know what I’m doing.’
“I’ve never seen him act like that. It was cool. We know he’s a really good player, he’s a dog. I take him as a guy that’ll just go out and get his job done and do work. But it’s obvious he can do that and talk that noise if people want to go that route as well. It showed me a little bit of a different side of him.”
But while his line mate was surprised to see that side of Beachum, the same couldn’t be said about his head coach.
“He’s from Texas,” Kingsbury said. “We get down in Texas like that. You piss off a Texas country boy, it’s going to be on.
“He usually doesn’t talk that violently if you will, but he has it in him, there’s no question.”
– Kingsbury on if Beachum was put on popcorn rations, a food the lineman eats on the daily, after taking a trip to the ER for stomach pain:
“That’s his deal. No, not yet. He’s got to keep playing good.”