New era notes: Kei’Trel Clark brings the spark on Day 8 of Cardinals camp

Aug 3, 2023, 5:35 PM | Updated: 11:21 pm

Kei'Trel Clark at training camp...

Arizona Cardinals CB Kei'Trel Clark runs through drills during training camp on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023, in Glendale. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

GLENDALE — Defensive coordinator Nick Rallis is about to name his starting cornerbacks with a little more than five weeks left before Arizona’s season opener against the Washington Commanders.

When that time does come, though, there’s a real possibility 2023 sixth-rounder Kei’Trel Clark’s name will be in the mix given his camp showing.

Mainly rolling with the 2s this camp, Clark got some run with the first team defense on Thursday.

He also played a part in a pair of back-to-back turnovers to end practice, first by picking off quarterback Jeff Driskel in the end zone before deflecting a pass that fellow cornerback JuJu Hughes came down with.

A Daley dose

The Cardinals’ first team offensive line has changed very little eight days into camp.

For the most part, it’s been the lineup of D.J. Humphries, Elijah Wilkinson, Hjalte Froholdt, Will Hernandez and Paris Johnson Jr.

This week, however, a change has taken place with the addition of veteran Dennis Daley to the starting five.

After getting most of his work with the second team offense for most of training camp, Daley has begun rotating in at left guard with Wilkinson.

Daley is looking for a bounce back season following a rough showing at left tackle for the Tennessee Titans in 2022.

Known more for his run-blocking ability, Daley at the very least gives Arizona another option to consider in what is expected to be a heavy ground game.

Light the Dortch

While a lot of talk has centered around the status of Hollywood Brown and rookie Michael Wilson, fellow wide receiver Greg Dortch has quietly put together a strong camp.

When the ball is coming his way, more times than not he’s making a play, as seen during 11-on-11 work on Thursday.

Dortch has proven in the past that he can make things happen with the ball in hands.

He just needs a steady stream of targets, something that had eluded the wideout under the previous regime.

Continuing to make plays like what we saw today, will only help him break that cycle under new management.

Understanding the ‘why’

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is not allowed to participate in practices while on the physically unable to perform list and still very much in the rehab process from a torn ACL.

That’s not to say, though, that the signal caller hasn’t been engaged with what is transpiring on the field, continually talking with head coach Jonathan Gannon, offensive coordinator Drew Petzing and other members of the coaching staff on the regular.

“He’s kind of a ball junkie,” the head coach said Thursday. “He wants to understand the why of why is (defensive coordinator Nick Rallis) doing that? Why is (cornerback Marco Wilson) playing it that way? Why is this going on? Why would you call that right there? I try to educate him on those things.

“He wants to know defense, good quarterbacks do. And he’s very intelligent. You can talk with him at a level of he’s a coach, because he’s smart and understands. Also for me, it’s really good to hear his perspective. … It’s just the back-and-forth of the quarterback position. All those quarterbacks do a good job of that. I pick those guys’ brains.”

Haack vs. Cooney

For the first time in a while, the Cardinals will have someone new booting punts with Andy Lee no longer on the roster.

As for who that might be, it comes down to two candidates in Nolan Cooney and Matt Haack, a pair of punters who bring different things to the position and have left special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers impressed with what he’s seeing.

“There’s a little bit more familiarity with Cooney, he’s been here before, and getting to know Matt,” Rodgers said Thursday. “Matt has a little more tape. We’ve got a solid feel for what their skillsets are and they’ve both been pretty decent so far.

“There’s factors that go into it, right? Nolan kicks off, which is good, and Matt’s left-footed, which causes issues sometimes with returners. Matt’s got a little bit more experience but Nolan’s kicking the ball really well right now. The holding part will factor in. It’s hard to say where things are at right now because their pretty close.

Red & White tempo

The week started off with a bang with the first padded practice of training camp on Tuesday.

In the days since, though, the tempo has taken a dip by design.

So what’s the plan for the Red & White practice the following day?

“We’ll be full tilt,” Gannon said.

See you, Saturday!

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