One player for the Arizona Cardinals that has seemed to have his status suffer a bit with the new coaching staff is cornerback Jamell Fleming. After getting a lot of attention early last season, he was criticized by then-defensive coordinator Ray Horton for his complacency.
The offseason, with new leadership, brought three new cornerbacks to the mix -- Jerraud Powers, Antoine Cason and Javier Arenas. Fleming finds himself in a different position, where playing time on defense will be difficult to pull off.
Fleming himself told me that the competition "makes you want to work harder and just play harder."
As for what he is doing, he is doing those cliche things football players say. "I just put my head up, work hard, just trying to do better, trying to make the team better," he said.
Head coach Bruce Arians said that Jamell is "really solid" so far in camp. "There's some great competition back there," he said. "But he's got all the skills and it's a matter of honing down all of his assignments and all his coverages and getting his hands on some balls, but he's got some skills."
The defense has a focus on disruption at the line of scrimmage and getting hands on the football in coverage. The players ahead of him (Powers and Arenas, in particular) have had very active hands and have been able to break up passes.
Based on what Arians is saying, there is still some work on the mental aspect of the game.
However, if you think that Fleming might find himself outside the final 53, it does not appear to be that way.
He is a starter on special teams, and he is very good there. "That's all guts and glory over there," Fleming said about his role over there. "You've got to work hard and just bust your butt down the field."
Fleming does that well.
There is undeniable talent there, but he apparently still has some work to do. What is great about it is the fact that, assuming the players ahead of him stay healthy, the cornerback position is a deep and skilled group in 2013.
More from Revenge of the Birds:
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- 53 Man Roster: Early Camp Edition
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