GLENDALE — Donning pads for the first time this training camp, the Arizona Cardinals had a spirited practice to say the least on Tuesday.
There was a feeling of added intensity throughout the day, with multiple dust-ups — J.J. Watt, Will Hernandez, Isaiah Simmons and DeAndre Hopkins were among those who had their moments — and players digging in a bit more on every rep.
— Mark McClune (@MarkMcClune) August 2, 2022
Now, in-team fighting is going to happen from time to time, especially with pads thrown in. But too much of it only hampers the team and those fighting tooth and nail for a roster spot in the end.
“I’m not a fan,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Tuesday. “At times it’s hard to avoid but I don’t like wasting the time or the reps in which we have to call off practice.
“And then the young guys there at the end, they don’t get their two-minute reps, so we got to be more mature and be able to handle the competition.”
From a player standpoint, the scuffles come with the territory of rocking pads for the first time at training camp.
But ask second-year pro Zaven Collins, and he’ll tell you the dust-ups are anything but a fight. That doesn’t take away from the disruption aspect of the whole sequence, however.
“Most of the time, it’s just guys grabbing and holding onto each other,” Collins said Tuesday. It’s a waste of time, that’s why guys really get angry about it because you don’t get much accomplished. It’s just a big huddle of guys grabbing onto each other.
“The huddle right there at the end is no different than the huddle before a game,” Collins added. “Guys just grabbing onto each other. The aggressions just toward the other team before a game. … Guys will play all the time and that’s most of the time what happens. … But no, we got to cut that out. We lost a lot of reps at the end there.”
Marquise Brown getting eased back into things
The Cardinals took another step in getting Hollywood Brown (hamstring) back out on the practice field on Tuesday.
Activating the wide receiver from the non-football injury list, Brown can once again take part in walkthroughs and all other things training camp.
But on the first day of pads, the wideout was seen on the sideline for the start of stretching before leaving the field altogether, raising concerns and questions as to why Brown isn’t out there or why he was even activated at this point.
It’s all part of Arizona’s timetable for the new Cardinal.
“We’re just easing him back in,” Kingsbury said. “We want to start him with the walkthroughs and then I’m hoping by the end of the week, he can start doing some (individual work) and then I’m guessing Monday full-go if everything stays on course.
“You have activate him to be able to get through walkthrough portion. I think that will help him adjust to it when he gets back full speed.”
Cardinals picking their spots with C Rodney Hudson
Another player not on the field Tuesday was starting center Rodney Hudson.
After an offseason of retirement speculation and an unexcused absence from mandatory minicamp, Hudson has seen very limited work this training camp.
It’s all about getting an integral part of the offense through the offseason and into when things really start to matter in the win-loss column.
Hudson’s track record in this offense also speaks for itself.
“He knows the system, he’s very cerebral,” Kingsbury said Tuesday. “We want to make sure he feels good when he’s out there so we’ll pick our spots with him.
“The main objective is to get him to Week 1 healthy and feeling good, because when he’s playing we’re a much better offense.”