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Arizona Cardinals training camp: TE Darren Fells gets praise from Bruce Arians

The former basketball player making strides.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It is always notable when the head coach of a team names a specific player and gives praise, especially when it is a guy that will have a hard time making the 53-man roster.

This is why, when Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians praised tight end Darren Fells as he did on Wednesday (via Arizona Sports), you open your ears a bit to listen.

"Darren Fells really got my attention for the first time; saw him rock some heads back blocking," said Arians of Fells' play in practice on Tuesday. "For a basketball player, that's a huge step forward."

Fells happened to be publicly mentioned in offseason work as being behind before, so this is an important step.

"Darren's a little further behind than I thought he would be, having been here for a year," Arians explained about Fells in June, who was on the team's practice squad last season.

Fells will have to continue to impress. It will be very hard, barring injury, to crack that top four. John Carlson has been nothing short of outstanding. Arians like Jake Ballard. The team used a second round pick on Troy Niklas. Rob Housler has looked good all offseason and, while he hasn't lived up to some expectations, still should be considered a very talented number three or number four tight end.

Fells will have to make plays in the passing game and also become a much better blocker. Tuesday's work is a big first step.