If you haven’t had a chance to catch up on Cardinals Flight Plan so far this season...first of all, what are you waiting for?
It’s one of the best inside looks to the team and, with no open training camp practices this year, is really the only look this year into the offseason for the Arizona Cardinals. An offseason that’s been riddled by a crazy pandemic into all sorts of unique situations.
You can check out the latest episode below before reading the rest of this article:
Now that you’ve seen it, let’s go ahead and discuss this “Virtual Reality” of football amidst a pandemic.
Last episode we got to see the Cardinals’ steps taken and protocols from players getting their temperatures remotely taken, showing their finished health questionnaire.
#1: Michael Bidwill Speaking about his experience with Coronavirus
“I was religious about wearing a mask, the only time I left the house was to go to the gym....and I got it.”
Cardinals Owner Michael Bidwill’s story of him sitting in the ICU for 5 days and a worried nurse holding his hand was powerful and it set the tone for a camp that so far, hasn’t seen a single reported positive Coronavirus test
#2: Deandre Hopkins living up to the Legend
“Whatever you’ve heard about him, it’s true.”
The first interview of Deandre Hopkins revealed a few things about him as an individual. Notably his love for futuristic Netflix shows, but it also revealed a surprising amount of humility and a quiet confidence in his ability to connect with Kyler Murray, who he called a talented young quarterback in his own right.
The episode had Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury talk about how he just “moves differently” from other guys, and seeing his dedication to communication with Murray and even keeping up with an off-field friendship should give Cardinals’ fans confidence in the team’s latest W.M.D.—weapon moving downfield.
#3: Seeing Devon Kennard come home
The Cardinals have seen a number of former Arizona natives on their team—from Christian Kirk to Byron Murphy.
But they’ve never had something like with Devon Kennard in an Arizona native who’s father HIMSELF was a former Arizona Cardinal.
Seeing the two of them bicker over who would have gotten the drop on the other (Kennard joking that his dad would have had no chance to catch him with his athleticism) was a treat to watch, with the hopes that in Cardinal red his son can carve a path in the desert similar to the father. Kennard even talked about how different Vance Joseph’s scheme is from the 4-3 sets he had played and that it was more aggressive, whereas before he used his hands to get upfield but had to read the QB or RB and remain cautious to a degree.
#4: Hump Remains A Hoot (and the OL having fun)
D.J. Humphries is quite a character. Being able to follow him from a conversation about the “Wild Hogs” offensive linemen and bonding that 4 of the Cardinals OL have had and jokes about how they cowered away from a “serious” biker that the fearsome foursome of Humphries, Pugh, Murray and Cole had was hysterical. He’s probably the most quotable player on the Cardinals outside of a rare, hilarious quip from Kliff Kingsbury.
- “I’m mic’d up say something offensive” (shakes his head laughing)
- Sweezy out there “poppin’ wheelies” (LOL, as if with those scooters) and Justin Pugh “is a cautious dude who would be on the sidewalk if not for us” Way to throw your teammate under the bus there, Humph.
- ...Randy Isadella. Not “Andy Isabella”. Fantasy fans, take notice.
- “People love a 6 pack and 8 pack but a party ain’t a party without a keg, baby.”
- Amidst it all, the veteran was STILL instructing rookie OT and 3rd round pick Josh Jones on his footwork
To me, that’s just showing that he’s more than just a quote for the locker room but a legit starting tackle in the NFL and team leader.
#5. Budda’s extension w/ him and Michael Bidwill in masks
This part stood out because 95% of the time it seems (with a rare Chris Johnson camp signing) we get to see Michael Bidwill at the Arizona Cardinals Dignity Health training facility sign contracts or extensions with Bidwill there and a special pen.
However, since Covid, we haven’t had an in-person signing with Bidwill for any of the draft picks due to social distancing, up until this camp when he and Budda inked a deal making him the highest paid safety in the NFL. Chandler Jones had fun with it, starting a “Bu-Dda!” chant in the locker room.
Jones has seemed to be Baker’s BFF in a lot of ways, and they’re now some of the longest tenured Cardinals on the team oddly enough due to the amount of turnover yearly, and certainly have blossomed into stars in the desert.
#6. An energized Kliff Kingsbury seems more confident
If guys like Chandler Jones and Patrick Peterson bring the energy, so did Kliff Kingsbury. He was raving about some of his new players and the segment in which he was mic’d up was revealing. He was as excited and joyous as Bruce Arians was when plays would succeed and ran some interesting drills that made sense for a football context. A quip or two could be found as well.
When Kyler Murray was having to handle a “bad snap” drill to prep for if a center misses a snap in scooping the ball up and dumping it off, after Kyler fielded one off the ground and threw it, Kingsbury said “Thank the Oakland A’s for that”.
Double ouch if you’re living in Oakland.
Poor A’s fans having to see their first round pick now playing in a completely different league, I guess.
Kingsbury as well discussed about how ‘Kirk “talked about it and he did it” and goes out there and “Moss’s two people”. “Mossing” is more of a football/Madden/twitter term for catching a ball in double coverage by leaping and taking it away from the defenders in a jump ball situation...so good for Christian Kirk.
Kingsbury also raved about Fitzgerald’s ease of adjustments for making a difficult catch. Said that “Fitz has the force within him.” just like an old Jedi Master.
Kingsbury is more reclusive by nature versus a force of personality in media like Bruce Arians, so getting to see the side of him that 90% doesn’t get seen in most media interviews is a dang treat.
#7. Kyler “Cole” Murray won’t settle for less...but that drive won’t isolate him from his teammates one bit
Kyler Murray when mic’d up was almost as entertaining as Kingsbury. He has an almost drier sense of humor and is pretty direct but also seemed to know when to cut loose with his teammates. One play that made me laugh out loud was when he yelled out “Banjo, shut the hell up” on the field and then took a snap and made a pass. Chris Banjo is an opposing defender and he was probably either trying to distract Murray or see something with a call on a play and Kyler essentially just shut him down, hilariously.
Murray also had one of the most entertaining segments when RB Chase Edmonds tried to guess his middle name and took...essentially the entire practice before getting it.
In the end, he figured out that 1 syllable, starting with a C meant Cole, and it was cathartic I’m sure for Chase to get it before the end of the day.
But Murray also seemed driven—just like he was upset over an interception, he was mad at himself for some reps that he felt were “average reps”.
Not settling for a “passing” grade is part of what makes Kyler unique in how he pushes himself constantly and is also quite self-aware. Just not diabolically so like some past quarterbacks or other managers have been in the past.
And I think that is the best thing for Cardinals fans to end on, with the season now, incredibly, less than a week away from beginning.
Overall, I liked how personal this episode felt in many ways.
Instead of focusing on the heavy topics or even seeing some behind the scenes aspects or stories (a la a day visiting a hospital or the like) it was more of just allowing some of the personalities on the Cardinals to shine through. In that sense it did feel more “natural” and flowed well.
I’d say that following Humphries for a day—from outside the stadium to mic’d up at practice was probably the highlight of the episode.
The Humphries/Murray/Kingsbury mic’d up segments were great, along with the ending for Kirk, Sherfield and Chase Edmonds aka the “Ratpack” or the “three Amigos” (or even just the Migos, a famous rapper group) together with their own secret way to exit the stadium.
By all accounts, those three have been inseparable from eating together to gaming together since they each came into the league in 2018 and lived through a wild rookie season and each made it into the 2020 season on the same team...remarkable for a 2nd, 5th and Undrafted player considering how fluid the NFL can be.
Seeing that camaraderie helps fans, even like myself, feel they are part of something more despite the fact that so far, there will be no live fans in attendence. But there will be 100% cheering and screaming inside of their hearts from those who’ve gotten a chance to see the work that’s been put in thus far to pull off a season.
It was good to take an inside look at that...from outside the Nest.
What was your favorite part of the latest episode? Sound off in the comments section!
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