Cardinals restructure, add to strength and conditioning staff

Apr 6, 2023, 12:16 PM

Arizona Cardinals Strength and Conditioning Coach Buddy Morris looks on as players warm up for the ...

Arizona Cardinals Strength and Conditioning Coach Buddy Morris looks on as players warm up for the NFL football game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Cincinnati Bengals on October 6, 2019, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals on Thursday announced the hiring of five new positions to their strength and conditioning staff, a sign the franchise is investing and upgrading its non-football departments under a new general manager and head coach.

The Cardinals on March 1 announced new director of football performance Shea Thompson, who will oversee the team’s strength and conditioning staff. He spent 2019-22 as director of performance monitoring/assistant strength and conditioning for the San Francisco 49ers.

He’s joined by head strength and conditioning coach Evan Marcus, assistants Jason Benguche and Everett Gathron, plus sports science coordinator and assistant strength and conditioning coach Kyle Sammons.

Former head strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris will remain with Arizona under the title of senior reconditioning coordinator, while assistant strength and conditioning coach Mark Naylor retains his position.

Thompson, Marcus and Benguche all have prior experience on NFL strength staffs. Gathron spent the past five years with the Ohio State Buckeyes, while Sammons heads south with the past seven seasons with the Washington Huskies.

An NFL Players Association report card that was based on a player poll from the 2022 season rated the Cardinals’ strength coaches an A-, one of three B grades or better in an eight-category list that included five F grades.

The staff included Morris, who had led the department since 2014, and Naylor.

They earned that praise despite the weight room receiving an F- grade in the player survey conducted by the NFLPA. The Cardinals also got an F- for food service/nutrition.

Morris won the 2021 NFL Strength Coach of the Year honor.

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Cardinals restructure, add to strength and conditioning staff