New era notes: D.J. Humphries does not take leadership role lightly

Sep 4, 2023, 2:01 PM | Updated: 2:03 pm

TEMPE — For a fourth-straight season, Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman D.J. Humphries has earned the title of captain.

It’s an honor he does not take lightly, especially as he gets ready to lead a team that looks a whole lot different personnel- and age-wise than it did just a season ago.

“I think it’s one of my favorite accolades as a football player,” the lineman said after practice on Monday. “It’s cool when you’re in high school or college, but in the NFL to be a captain to me is crazy because it’s a group of men. Some of them are older than me, some of them are younger.

“Being in the NFL and being a captain and being a leader of a group of men, that’s one of the highest honors that I could ask for as a player. That’s a level of respect from the top down. To be named that is a big deal for me.”

He’s not the only Cardinal to get the captaincy nod for a fourth-straight year, either, with safety Budda Baker, linebacker Dennis Gardeck and quarterback Kyler Murray — who is currently not on the 53-man roster as he works his way back from a torn ACL — also earning the “C” from head coach Jonathan Gannon and the coaching staff.

And while some may wonder why Murray was named a captain due to his injury status and inability to return to the action until at least Week 5, Humphries is far from that side of thinking after seeing his signal caller get after his rehab this offseason.

“I think it’s a reflection of how Kyler’s handled this whole process,” Humphries said. “When you deal with quarterbacks, they’re like these mystical unicorns that you have to make sure you handle them a certain way in the offseason. … I got to see him all offseason training and lifting and running, doing stuff that’s not the fun stuff.

“That to me, that put me in a different view of him because you get to see someone grind through something really hard. That was really big for me. It didn’t surprise me at all knowing he was down, but we still named him a captain. He’s earned that.”

Ojulari ready to go

Cardinals rookie linebacker BJ Ojulari was slow rolled throughout training camp and preseason action as he worked to get back to full strength.

The end result was minimal reps and one limited preseason appearance.

But come Week 1, the rookie will be piece to at least consider for Gannon and Co.

“He’ll be ready to go,” Gannon said Monday.

As for how much we will see of Ojulari is anyone’s guess, with Zaven Collins and Dennis Gardeck likely getting the Week 1 starting nods. Cameron Thomas also figures to see extended time.

Know your role

Just because a player earned the status of starter or another meaningful role on the team heading into Week 1, doesn’t mean it’s concrete.

Gannon and the coaching staff aren’t afraid to change things up if it puts the team in a better position to succeed.

“We talked about roles today, but roles can change very quickly. It’s a production business,” Gannon said.

“This team does a really good job of competing and understanding that and taking it day by day trying to put their best foot forward.”

The thought process goes both ways, too. Don’t like your role? Play yourself into a better one.

Is that K1?

Quarterback Kyler Murray remains firmly on the physically unable to perform list until at least Week 5.

His number, however, does not.

After officially making the practice squad, wide receiver Andre Baccellia switch up his jersey number, opting for the single digit over his typical No. 83. He even had a leg sleeve on to boot.

Maybe he’s just paying homage to Murray’s captaincy. Maybe he thinks the number makes him faster. Whatever the case, the development raised a few eyebrows among reporters.

Baccellia wasn’t the only Cardinal with a new number, either, with linebackers Josh Woods (10) and Krys Barnes (51) among those with new digits.

5 O’clock somewhere

The Cardinals kicked off Monday’s practice with a tribute to the late Jimmy Buffett, who died Friday at 76.

Hopefully he finally found that lost shaker of salt.

Presented By
Western Governors University
Clayton Tune (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Matt Prater (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Clayton Tune (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Clayton Tune (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Greg Dortch (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Greg Dortch (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Greg Dortch (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Colt McCoy (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Budda Baker (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Zaven Collins chasing Patrick Mahomes (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Budda Baker and Jonathan Gannon (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Rondale Moore (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Trey McBride (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Zaven Collins (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Patrick Mahomes (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Justin Watson (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Kyler Murray (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Kyler Murray (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Jonathan Gannon (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Keaontay Ingram (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Isaiah Simmons and Patrick Mahomes (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Paris Johnson Jr. (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports) Isaiah Simmons (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)

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