Cardinals Training Camp Capsule
ARIZONA CARDINALS (8-8)
OPEN CAMP: July 27, Glendale, Arizona
LAST YEAR: Cardinals dealt with myriad injuries but managed to pull out win in Seattle in finale to finish 8-8 in coach Bruce Arians’ final game. He announced retirement next day. Arians finished with franchise-record 50 wins, but his teams failed to make playoffs in last two years. QB Carson Palmer, after another season shortened by injury, also announced retirement. 8-8 record came despite loss of standout running back David Johnson when he dislocated wrist in opener. It was another standout year for Larry Fitzgerald: In 14th NFL season, he finished second in league in receptions with 102. Outside linebacker Chandler Jones led NFL with 16 ½ sacks.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Coach Steve Wilks, QB Sam Bradford, QB Josh Rosen, QB Mike Glennon, RT Andre Smith, RG Justin Pugh, WR Brice Butler, WR Christian Kirk, CB Jamar Taylor, RB Chase Edmonds.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: Arians, Palmer, S Tyrann Mathieu, WR John Brown, WR Jaron Brown, QB Drew Stanton, OT Jared Veldheer, CB Justin Bethel, OG Alex Boone, DT Frostee Rucker, ILB Karlos Dansby, DT Josh Mauro, TE Troy Niklas, OT Earl Watford.
CAMP NEEDS: With new coach and new systems on offense, defense and special teams, plenty for Cardinals to work on once they don pads. While most practices will be held in air conditioned comfort of University of Phoenix Stadium, Wilks says he wants some workouts outside in sweltering Arizona summer heat. There will be several important position battles, including for No. 2 receiver spot behind Fitzgerald. There’s also intrigue at quarterback, where Rosen has drawn praise as Cardinals bring along Bradford slowly after last year’s knee injury. Rosen will try to unseat Glennon as backup. Wilks and new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy want much of offense built around dynamic Johnson, who led NFL in yards from scrimmage two seasons ago. But Johnson skipped mandatory minicamp in contract dispute. Wilks also has cut camp shorter, ending it on Aug. 13 — just after second preseason game — and moving back to practice facilities.
EXPECTATIONS: Outside of Cardinals organization, expectations aren’t high. Many early forecasts have them finishing last in the NFC West. But Wilks has impressed players with his system and he says team has cornerstones of great players — Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, Johnson and maybe Bradford — to build winning team. Preseason games will be particularly interesting as Rosen is likely to get extensive playing time.
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