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Calling Plays Next Step For Byron Leftwich

Posted Aug 16, 2017

Notes: QB coach will make decisions for second straight game; Palmer tries gloves

Cardinals quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich calls plays at a recent training camp practice.

Byron Leftwich had never called plays before he did it last week for the Cardinals against the Raiders, and he’s going to do it again this week for the Cardinals when they play the Bears.

The quarterback coach, in his first season as a regular coach (he was an intern last year), wasn’t necessarily looking for the job either. Head coach Bruce Arians just told him he was going to be doing it.

“If you know B.A., you know you don’t get too much of a warning,” Leftwich said with a smile.

Arians let offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin call plays in the Hall of Fame game. Leftwich got last week and this week. Arians only wants one game to prep for the duties he will have in the regular season, so he will call plays at the preseason game in Atlanta. Goodwin is expected to do it again in Denver to close the preseason.

Goodwin, however, has done it a number of times for Arians as Arians tries to give his younger coaches experience for future moves up the coaching ladder. That’s why Leftwich was tapped.

Arians had a scripted period of practice Tuesday that he flipped to a called period just so Leftwich could get more reps.

“It’s great to know B.A. has as much confidence as he has in me,” Leftwich said. “And he doesn’t hold me back. He turns me loose and lets me go. No restrictions on it.”

Leftwich acknowledged there were a couple of plays he wished with which he could have a do-over against the Raiders – he wouldn’t specifically say which ones – and he couldn’t say if he was truly successful, saying only he knows he can improve.

“I don’t get into the business of patting myself on the back,” Leftwich said.

As for Arians’ feedback, all Leftwich got was a “good job.” “This is B.A. we’re talking about,” he said.

Mostly, Leftwich is focusing on becoming a better quarterback coach and learning the personalities of the four on the roster – which help him call better plays. His transition to the main coach in the room – last year’s quarterbacks coach, Freddie Kitchens, moved to running backs – has been smooth.

[READ: NKEMDICHE AS TEACHING TOOL]

“(Byron) has a totally different perspective and not just because he played in the NFL but because he played in this system in the NFL,” quarterback Carson Palmer said. “He was in this system at the end of his career (playing for Arians) when he had his most experience and was probably at his most-smartest football-wise.”

Arians believes Leftwich will be a head coach someday. Leftwich isn’t thinking near that far ahead.

“I don’t really have enough time in the day to really worry about myself,” he said. “Right now my focus is on, ‘What can I do to get these (quarterbacks) better?’ ”

PALMER’S GLOVE STORY

As he did Monday, Palmer wore a glove on his left hand in practice. He actually put one on his right hand in individual work at the outset of practice before switching as team work began.

“Just kind of seeing how I like it.” Palmer said before the workout. “I’m experimenting.”

It helps the grip, Palmer said, adding that it’s “kind of cheating.”

“Those things are so sticky now,” he said.

Palmer has worn gloves in the past, including one on his left hand in the final two games of last season. He’s worn one on his right hand before too, in sub-zero temperatures, although he isn’t fond of that because he feels he loses touch on his passes.

Now’s the time to get some experience with wearing a glove, he said, in case there might be a crazy weather game later in the season.

“This is August,” Palmer said. “I like tinkering with things right now.”

LINEBACKERS HURTING

Linebacker Markus Golden (foot) returned to work, but the Cardinals have lost fellow linebacker Josh Bynes (hamstring) for about a week, Arians said. Linebacker Philip Wheeler (foot) also is about a week away, while the epidural linebacker Jarvis Jones (back) had is not working and Arians said he might have another.

Safety Rudy Ford (hamstring), defensive tackle Ed Stinson (hamstring) and wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin) remained sidelined. Linebacker Terrence Waugh left practice with what looked like a leg injury.

Quarterback Drew Stanton, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, safety Antoine Bethea and defensive tackle Frostee Rucker had rest days. Linebacker Karlos Dansby also sat out again.

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