The Arizona Cardinals start their 2018 journey today as players reported to training camp. Head coach Steve Wilks enters his first season as the head man in the desert and leads his first preseason practice on Saturday, July 28th at University of Phoenix Stadium. We’ve taken a look at the players to watch on both offense and defense. Today the focus turns to the biggest story-lines for Cardinals training camp.
How Much Time Will Josh Rosen Get With the First Team?
Quarterback Josh Rosen was selected to be the head of the Cardinals franchise for years to come. The team moved up in the first round to select the former UCLA quarterback, making a statement about who they believed was the best passer of the lot. Ahead of Rosen on the depth chart are newly signed free agents Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon.
Bradford is scheduled to make around $20 million this season. Joining Bradford is the much maligned Glennon. Glennon signed a two-year deal during free agency. Both quarterbacks ahead of Rosen have much to prove in terms of their ability to perform on the field. Glennon struggled mightily during his lone season in Chicago. Bradford has battled the injury bug and must prove he can last a season.
Rosen impressed both his coaches and teammates during offseason workouts and mini-camps. The rookie is already pushing for more time with the first unit. Will the first team reps be used to get Bradford in playing shape or will Rosen find his way onto the field more often than not? It will be a fun battle to watch.
Is the New Coaching Staff Ready for the Season?
Joining Steve Wilks in Arizona are offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and defensive coordinator Al Holcomb. The staff as a whole was made over after Bruce Arians retired at the end of the 2017 season. This is par for the course when a coaching change is made. New challenges await the coaching staff as training camp begins.
Wilks is in his first stint as an NFL head coach. McCoy and Holcomb bring change to their respective sides of the ball. Defensively the Cardinals are transitioning to a 4-3 base defense. The team has primarily played with three defensive linemen over the last decade. Pass rushers Chandler Jones and Markus Golden will be moving from outside linebacker to defensive end. Before following Wilks from Carolina to Arizona, Holcomb spent the last five seasons as the Panthers’ linebackers coach.
Latest Cardinals News
- Miami Dolphins: Top-Three 2020 Games
- Super Bowl is Arians’ Coaching Culmination
- Win and In: Cardinals Need Victory for Playoff Berth
- Boxing Day Beating: 49ers Overpower Cardinals
- Tailspin: Cardinals Drop Second Game in a Row
On offense, McCoy hopes to bring a more balanced attack and one primarily focused on the ground. The offensive line has been beefed up during free agency and running back David Johnson is returning from injury. McCoy is known for adapting his scheme to fit his personnel. The biggest test will be how well McCoy can fit his scheme and how efficiently the unit can execute.
Will Steve Keim’s Suspension Hurt the Team?
When news broke of general manager Steve Keim being cited for a DUI earlier this month, many wondered what type of punishment would be handed down. In the end it was a multi-week suspension and a fine for Keim. The general manager is out of the mix for the first few weeks of training camp and many wonder how that will affect the roster. Keim is known for his shrewd talent pickups during the preseason as he attempts to fine tune a roster for the race to the postseason.
Keim is slated to return after week two of the preseason. He likely left instructions to his subordinates and wouldn’t be surprising to learn he has maintained contact. However, at a time when the Cardinals are trying to keep their championship window open, his absence could prove fatal in a league where the bottom of your roster can be exposed in a matter of a single play.
Changes are aplenty in Arizona and questions need to be answered. Training camp is the first step to finding those answers and the team will be under intense scrutiny. The preseason is where teams can come together and get ready for a miraculous run, or they can begin to crack and splinter just before the heat of the season begins.