Heading into the Arizona Cardinals’ first preseason game of 2016, no single player was under the microscope more than second-year right tackle D.J. Humphries.
The 2015 first-round draft pick was seeing his first real game action since last preseason. But just because he’s penciled in as the starter at this point doesn’t mean Humphries has anything locked up for Week 1 of the regular season against the New England Patriots.
“It’s a big week for him,” offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin told Doug and Wolf Tuesday morning on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “I think last week in the game, the nerves got to him a little bit when it came to protection. I thought he was solid in the run game.
“He’s got to continue to grow and just relax. I think he was a little hyped-up. He was out there with the first group last Friday night. He’s just got to relax, have fun, play ball and just make sure on every snap he’s trying to use his technique.”
The Cardinals have shaken up their training camp schedule by traveling to San Diego for joint practices against the Chargers leading up to Friday’s preseason game between the two teams at Qualcomm Stadium. Humphries, fresh of his first start, will continue to be pushed. Goodwin, among others, is anxious to see how the former Florida Gator responds.
“I think he got a little loose in protection and got saved by (right guard) Evan (Mathis) a couple times,” Goodwin said. “As the game went on, he played more and started to settle down.”
Goodwin, who had play-calling duties for the Cardinals against Oakland, didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to protect his tackle.
“Not really,” he said. “I wanted to see what he could do, so I just called the plays. I didn’t do anything in particular to slide his way or not slide his way.
“At a certain point of the game, no matter what we’re doing, you’re going to be one-on-one. Give D.J. credit, he competed. You’re looking at maybe the number-one or number-two pass rusher in the league (Khalil Mack) last Friday. It was a big task and he showed up, he just needs better technique.”
The Cardinals will practice against the Chargers Tuesday and Wednesday nights in San Diego. They’ll face each other at Qualcomm Stadium Friday night. Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. and the game can be heard on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, with pregame coverage starting at 3:30.
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