New era notes: BJ Ojulari begins acclimation process fresh off PUP list
Aug 7, 2023, 5:22 PM
GLENDALE — It was an eventful start to the week for Arizona Cardinals rookie linebacker BJ Ojulari.
Not only was he removed from the physically unable to perform list on Monday — marking the first injured Cardinal to do so this offseason — the rookie was back among his teammates after spending much of his first NFL offseason sidelined due to a knee procedure.
It’s undoubtedly a step in the right direction for the second-round pick out of LSU.
Now, it’s about making up for lost time while keeping a measured approach to getting game ready.
“Just get him acclimated with how we do things and start getting some mental reps in and start progressing him physically, see where he’s at,” head coach Jonathan Gannon said.
“We’ll obviously have a plan for him and we have to be willing to adapt that plan. Coming back off of any type of injury is not linear typically. So, you just got to be ready for the things that could possibly happen. … You really got to listen to the athlete when it comes to that.”
Ojulari took part in both individual and team drills on Monday. During 11-on-11s, he was seen working sparingly with both the third- and fourth-team defenses.
— Tyler Drake (@Tdrake4sports) August 7, 2023
The rookie’s return to action came days ahead of the team’s first preseason game against the Denver Broncos.
As far as how much we might see from Ojulari, that remains up in the air.
“No timetable on him,” Gannon said when asked if the rookie would have a role for Friday’s home tilt.
There has been a handful of players who have done minimal work throughout a good portion of training camp, including running back Keaontay Ingram, linebacker Myjai Sanders, wide receiver Hollywood Brown and tight end Trey McBride.
Of those names, all but McBride was back in some form or fashion on a low-tempo Monday.
Sanders regained his role with the second- and first-team defenses, Ingram split second-team touches with new addition Marlon Mack during 11-on-11s and Brown took part in more than just individual drills for the first time in a while.
A new first-team face
For the first time all camp, second-year pass rusher Jesse Luketa got an extended look with the 1s during 11-on-11s.
Luketa is coming off a seven-game sample size last season as a 2022 seventh-round pick. He had three tackles, two of which were for losses during that span.
In addition to Luketa, Zaven Collins, Cameron Thomas, Dennis Gardeck and Sanders all got work with the first team at some point or another on Monday.
Lay off the cake!
Monday wasn’t just the 10th day of Cardinals training camp, it also marked quarterback Kyler Murray’s 26th birthday.
And like every birthday, the quarterback’s special day came with a song — and some friendly advice from his first-year head coach.
“I said, ‘Lay off the cake,'” Gannon said with a smile. “He shows off his abs in that shirt. I said, ‘Lay off the cake.'”