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Jim Dray Finds His Niche

Posted Jul 30, 2013

Notebook: Cards search for a tight end rotation; Team ready for day off

Tight end Jim Dray (81) makes a move upfield on linebacker Korey Jones during Tuesday's practice.

Bruce Arians has two distinct body types he prefers for his tight ends.

One is tall and lean, more of the traditional blocking tight end. The other is more athletic who can play multiple positions, including fullback.

That’s a good thing for Jim Dray.

The fourth-year tight end has found himself in a position to earn significant playing time under Arians, who will employ a two-tight end offense. And with recent injuries to Jeff King and Kory Sperry, Dray is seeing more snaps as the first week of training camp winds down.

“When you play tight end, especially in this offense, you have to know how to play Y, H, F receiver,” Dray said. “No matter who’s up or who’s down, everybody’s going to get a lot of reps.”

Dray had a productive offseason, standing out in minicamp and OTAs. That’s carried over into training camp, where Dray’s stayed healthy and caught the eye of Arians.

“Jim Dray is as steady as you get,” the coach said.

The more Dray can impress, the better chance he’ll have of seeing the field on offense this season. Arians said the Cardinals, who claimed tight end Mickey Shuler off waivers this week, are still looking for other options as tight end. Rob Housler has looked good as the presumed main tight end receiving threat. Veteran Jeff King is also expected to have a role, although he has sat out a couple of practices because of fluid on the knee.

But thus far, Arians is pleased with Dray, rookie D.C. Jefferson and Kory Sperry, who, like Dray, can also play multiple positions. Sperry, however, is out with an ankle injury.

“I was really a little ticked because Kory was really having a heck of a camp and finding out that he could play full back and move around and block, because I know he can catch, I was really pleased,” Arians said. “I hated for him to have a setback.”

TIMING OF DAY OFF IS JUST RIGHT

After six days of training camp, Wednesday’s day off couldn’t come at a better time for the Cardinals.

“(We) definitely need to recharge,” linebacker Karlos Dansby said. “After a couple days of hitting, football takes a lot out of a guy. All the pounding, all the hitting, all the collisions, you know, it does a lot to the body so you need to give it time to recharge and recoup.”

The Cardinals return to their Tempe training facility for an outdoor practice Thursday that’s closed to the public. They return to University of Phoenix Stadium on Friday.

“Hopefully we get through (Tuesday) healthy,” Arians said. “Get through today and hydrate up for the heat because we’re going to go out Thursday morning but be careful with it. I’m more concerned about injuries post heat than I am (Tuesday).”

FANAIKA GETS MORE TIME TO IMPRESS

Daryn Colledge’s nerve injury is having an unintended consequence: It’s giving Paul Fanaika more time with the first team. That, in turn, is giving Arians more time to evaluate Fanaika.

“Paul Fanaika has really grabbed ahold of his opportunity,” Arians said. “Now he’s at guard. He was at tackle most of the spring. Right now, he’s looking really good.”

Fanaika, who played guard for most of his career at Arizona State, worked at right tackle and left guard during minicamp and OTAs. He’s filling in for Colledge at right guard until the eight-year veteran returns, a timetable is that indeterminable, according to Arians.

Fanaika said the transition back to guard was easy and that he has the next-man-up mindset.

“It’s training camp, anything can happen,” he said. “What you have to do is just step in there and do the best that you can to fill in and basically be the next man up.”

WARNER GETS MOVIE DEAL

After years of passing on the opportunity to make a movie about his fairy tale career, Kurt Warner has agreed to take his story to the silver screen.

“For I don’t know how many years you have people tell you, ‘Man, your story would be great on the big screen. It’s a movie waiting to happen,’ ” Warner said. “We’ve explored it before but with so many different things going on and when I was playing, it was something that wasn’t on the forefront of my mind. And then talks heated up again recently and we decided it’s a good time to pursue this and to sit down and have some meetings.”

The movie will be made by 20th Century Fox and Temple Hill Entertainment, and will chronicle Warner’s rise from the Arena Football League to stocking shelves at a grocery store to the Super Bowl to retiring with the Cardinals.

Warner will have as much or as a little involvement as he wants, but he isn’t sure who will play the 42-year-old – although he said wife Brenda already has a list of movie stars she wants to meet.


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