The Arizona Cardinals put on pads for the first time in training camp on Tuesday, which elevated the physicality of practice. That also brought some increased intensity that boiled over into a couple of minor skirmishes.
According to media members in attendance, receiver DeAndre Hopkins and linebacker Isaiah Simmons got into it a bit after cornerback Marco Wilson broke up a pass. Near the end of practice, defensive lineman J.J. Watt and offensive lineman Will Hernandez got into a bit of a shoving match.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury wasn’t thrilled.
“Anytime you put the pads on, you expect some aggressiveness,” he said, “but we can’t waste time like that at the end and waste reps. We’ve got to be better tomorrow.”
He indicated he is “not a fan” of fighting, considering it an immature way to compete.
“At times it’s hard to avoid. I don’t like wasting the time or the reps,” he said. “Sometimes you’ve got to call off practice and then the young guys there at the end don’t get their two-minute reps. We’ve just got to be more mature and handle the competition.”
Practice time in the NFL is limited and coaches know how valuable reps are, especially for young guys in camp.
Kingsbury is not as heavy-handed about fighting as former head coach Bruce Arians was. He had a no-tolerance policy. He would kick players out of practice and even, one year, had the entire team run as a consequence for it, considering it selfish.
The Cardinals will be back on the field for practice Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. Arizona time.