New era notes: It’s knock-off-the-rust time for the Cardinals

Aug 8, 2023, 8:20 PM | Updated: Aug 9, 2023, 12:13 am

Drew Petzing at training camp...

Arizona Cardinals OC Drew Petzing looks on during training camp on Monday, Aug. 7, 2023, in Glendale. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

GLENDALE — It’s officially game week for the Arizona Cardinals.

For the first time this league year, the Cardinals get a chance to hit someone other than their teammates and put what they’ve worked on this training camp to the test come Friday night.

The main objective every game — exhibition or not — for the Cardinals is coming away with a win.

That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t other things to accomplish when the Denver Broncos come to town.

“I think it changes each week depending on who’s healthy, how far into things we are, how long we’ve been together,” offensive coordinator Drew Petzing said Tuesday. “I think a lot of it is knocking the rust off, getting comfortable with gameday operation, communication in and out of the huddle.

“And then any time we go out to play, we’re playing to win, so that’s certainly going to be a part of what we’re doing on Friday.”

Defensive coordinator Nick Rallis is also keeping his expectations for his unit rather simple ahead of Friday’s action.

“I want to see our guys go out there and compete and get to go live,” the DC said post-practice on Tuesday. “I want to see how well we tackle, I want to see us take the ball away.”

The exhibition slate isn’t just for the players to fine-tune their game, either, with two coordinators preparing for their first year on the job.

“For us as an operation as coaches, what’s our headset operation? That kind of stuff is very important,” Rallis added. “What are my thoughts when I’m out there as a play caller when I’m out there? Where is my headspace? Where do I go if something bad happens or good happens?

“I’m excited for that and I really need to use the opportunity to get better myself.”

Tune in?

Rookie quarterback Clayton Tune’s hype train continues after he was slotted in behind starter Colt McCoy on the depth chart, ahead of veterans David Blough and Jeff Driskel.

Tune has easily been one of the main standouts from camp, consistently rolling with the second-team offense with some first-team reps thrown in here and there.

Now, he’ll embark on the next test of his pro career: Live NFL action.

“I think it’s big for any rookie. This is their first opportunity to play NFL football with the lights on in front of the fans,” Petzing said Tuesday. “You talk about it, you certainly prepare for it in practice and go through the mental gymnastics of what it’s going to feel like.

“But the first time you do it, it’s different. I’m excited to see (Tune and the other rookies) go out there and compete.”

The next step

Tune isn’t the only rookie making his presence felt throughout training camp, with wide receiver Michael Wilson continually stacking practices and making plays.

So what is Petzing looking for out of the WR come Friday night?

“I think it’s going out and competing in run game, pass game, whatever it is,” Petzing said Tuesday.

“Doing his job at a high level on every play. One of things you’re going to look for in a guy with his kind of talent is consistency, being that same guy every down and going out and competing and knowing that when your number’s called, you’re going to go out there and make the play.”

Getting Chippy!

There was some added intensity to practice on Tuesday, especially down in the trenches.

During different portions of 11-on-11 work, Will Hernandez, Leki Fotu, D.J. Humphries and Hjalte Froholdt at some point or another had some extracurriculars after the whistle blew.

“I was there getting a little chippy, but I appreciate those guys. They’re getting me better,” Froholdt said after practice. “Afterwards I’m thinking about how they’re forcing me to be better on my blocks and do everything I can.

“But in the end, it’s the part of camp. There are full pads. It’s hard when you’re playing such a physical sport not to get a little amped up. … No hard feelings there.”

Hey, at least no punches were thrown and no one was told to head to the showers early, which we’ve seen happen once this camp.

“Everybody did a good job competing and playing hard and physical, but nobody crossed the line of going too far and doing anything that would draw a flag, which you have to work on,” Rallis said. “That’s game-like and things are going to get heated in practice and in a game.”

All’s well that ends well.

McBride — kind of — back

It had been a while since we last saw tight end Trey McBride take the field with his teammates.

July 28 to be exact.

And while he still didn’t do much from a team aspect, the tight end did see more work than he has been during individual drills.

The same can’t be said for Myjai Sanders.

After putting in a full day of work on Monday, the outside linebacker was not in uniform and watching from the side throughout practice.

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