New era notes: Pads come on, intensity ratchets up at Cardinals camp
Aug 1, 2023, 4:59 PM | Updated: Aug 3, 2023, 11:20 pm
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
GLENDALE — The Arizona Cardinals once again graced the field at State Farm Stadium for Day 6 of training camp.
But unlike the previous days, Tuesday carried much more weight as the Cardinals threw on pads for the first time this camp.
And with the added gear, came added intensity.
In addition to Tuesday already scheduled as an up-tempo day of work, the addition of pads kicked things up another notch.
Just ask rookie wide receiver Michael Wilson, who shared some words with second-year pro Christian Matthew after the pass catcher nabbed a pair of passes over the cornerback.
After beating him twice during 1-on-1s, #AZCardinals rookie WR Michael Wilson had a few words for second-year CB Christian Matthew.
Definitely more intensity on the field today. pic.twitter.com/epN8U5f32F
— Tyler Drake (@Tdrake4sports) August 1, 2023
And you better believe there’s going to be some sore bodies and exhausted brains by the time the week concludes with Arizona’s Red & White practice.
“This week is a good week,” head coach Jonathan Gannon said Tuesday. “I told the guys they’re not going to feel great. It’s how we structured camp. This is a little bit of a test mentally and physically with where the installs are and what we’re asking them to do physically on the field.
“So, we got to make sure we’re getting a little bit better each day. But I do like where we are right now.”
Togiai keeps stacking
When it comes to the tight ends room, there hasn’t been many as consistent as Noah Togiai, who continues to show off his hands with Zach Ertz and Trey McBride sidelined.
For yet another day, Togiai turned up the heat, reeling in a pair of touchdowns during red zone work.
He’s already known for his blocking ability, but if Togiai can keep being a reliable target for the first and second teams, it’ll give Arizona some solid depth at the position behind Ertz (whenever he returns from a torn ACL) and McBride.
Tune runs with the 1s
After working almost exclusively with the second team since training camp began, rookie quarterback Clayton Tune got a crack at rolling with the 1s in place of Colt McCoy on Tuesday.
And for the most part, he looked pretty sharp with the added responsibility.
He found Togiai in the end zone during red zone work and hooked up with Greg Dortch while driving down the field in 11-on-11s.
“Clayton’s done great, he’s come in and approached it like a pro,” general manager Monti Ossenfort said Tuesday. “He’s putting in extra time, putting in extra time with our coaches, with our players. It’s the toughest position to play in professional football, probably the toughest position in professional sports.
“Clayton’s jumped in, as have all our rookies, all our quarterbacks. They’re putting in time that is required at that position and it’s fun to see him grow. Now, a long way to go just like everybody else, but the early starts have been promising with what we’ve seen from Clayton.”
Rookie QB Clayton Tune taking snaps with #AZCardinals first team offense…
— Paul Calvisi (@PaulCalvisi) August 1, 2023
Keaontay Ingram did not participate throughout practice on Tuesday. The reasoning behind the decision was not known.
With him on the sideline, the Cardinals turned to Corey Clement as RB2. Undrafted rookie Emari Demercado also got some added run and made a few nice plays as a runner and pass catcher.
Ingram figures to be one of the team’s top backup options behind starter James Conner.
When 11-on-11s kicked off Tuesday, it was Leki Fotu, Rashard Lawrence and Jonathan Ledbetter getting first-team looks.
Carlos Watkins has also been getting some action with the 1s at a lesser clip.
Aside from Kyzir White’s cemented role as the team’s MIKE linebacker, there are decisions to make when it comes to who is going to line up next to him.
Two names to watch in that regard are Krys Barnes and Josh Woods, two vets who have gotten quite a bit of work with the first and second teams this camp.
On Tuesday, the latter had the upper hand, highlighted by an interception of McCoy in the end zone.
Not only did he corral the pass, he got both his feet down on the play. A celebration ensued.
From earlier today:
Josh Woods picks off Colt McCoy during 11-on-11s at #AZCardinals camp.
Granted, McCoy probably isn’t heaving that in a game BUT still a solid play from Woods. pic.twitter.com/qzNTT3tBl0
— Tyler Drake (@Tdrake4sports) August 1, 2023
Sanders back soon?
While he didn’t participate on Tuesday, Gannon believes linebacker Myjai Sanders will be back working among his teammates “pretty shortly.”
Sanders hasn’t practiced since Thursday after banging his right hand. He has since been seen on the side and sporting a cast.