New linebacker Desmond Bishop takes part in individual drills Thursday with the Cardinals.
After missing 28 of 32 games the past two seasons, Desmond Bishop knows any talking he does right now is cheap. That's why he was so happy to return to a practice field.
Injuries have derailed a promising career for the veteran inside linebacker, who sat out all of 2012 in Green Bay with a ruptured hamstring and 12 games last year in Minnesota with a torn ACL.
Bishop is still only three years removed from consecutive 100-tackle seasons with the Packers, and the Cardinals signed him to a one-year contract Thursday as a possible inside linebacker option. Bishop said he worked hard to rehabilitate from his knee injury, and is ready to prove himself.
"I'm definitely confident, but the thing about it is, I don't really want to talk about it," Bishop said. "I just want to go do it.
A lot of it is, 'How do you feel?' I say, 'I feel great. I'm strong, still quick.' There's no way you can simulate a football game. If it's basketball, you can go anywhere in the country and go shoot around at the gym. In football, there's no simulation for it. The only way to do it is to do it."
Bishop was a key member of the Green Bay defense in 2010 and 2011. He had five tackles in four games last season in Minnesota before suffering the knee injury on Oct. 13. He is expected to compete for a backup role behind starters Larry Foote and Kevin Minter. Coach Bruce Arians said the Cardinals worked out Bishop twice, and now that he's healthy enough to play, the team is excited to add him.
"He was a guy we have had our eye on for a long time," Arians said.
Bishop, who had eight tackles and a fumble recovery for Green Bay in Super Bowl XLV, said he had multiple options on the table, but liked the opportunity with the Cardinals. He said his seven years of NFL experience will be important as he tries to get up to speed quickly in training camp.
"The defense is similar to what I've learned over my career," Bishop said. "I think that puts me ahead of the curve a little bit. Knowing offenses and knowing the ins and outs of football, it helps me tremendously."
DEMENS' WEIGHT DROP COULD MEAN PLAYING TIME GAIN
Kenny Demens is among the players who will battle Bishop for an inside linebacker spot. He was a tackling machine at the University of Michigan, averaging 86 per season in his final three years, but concerns about his speed left Demens undrafted in 2013.
He caught on with the Cardinals as a free agent and spent most of last year on the practice squad, but following the
offseason losses of Karlos Dansby and Daryl Washington, has a better opportunity now to make the active roster. Demens isn't taking it for granted, losing 15 pounds this offseason to get quicker.
"No more McDonald's," Demens said. "No more In-N-Out late. Just eating right. Lean meats, veggies."
Demens said the initial transition was difficult but he's gotten used to his new diet.
"When you're up late at night and you're bored watching TV, you want to go grab that snack – grab those chicken tenders or grab whatever it might be," he said. "The first two weeks were kind of tough, but after a while you get used to it. You start not craving those things anymore."
Dansby and Washington played nearly every snap together after Washington returned from a four-game suspension last season. This year, the Cardinals will mix and match more at inside linebacker, and Demens could be counted on in running situations. He earned some first-team playing time at practice on Thursday in place of the injured Minter.
"He's like a fire hydrant," Arians said. "All-time leading tackler at Michigan, that speaks volumes. People run a 40-yard dash and they think he can't play, but ever since we've had him, he's a very heady, instinctive player. We've got all the confidence in the world playing him on first and second down."
IMPORTANCE OF THE FAMILIAR DYNAMIC
While the Cardinals cast a wide net searching for possible free agents, many times they circle back to the same group. Arians prefers signing players with whom he's had a previous relationship, especially now when the additions are likely going to be backups. There are several former Steelers and Colts on the team, including recent pickup Max Starks.
Arians pointed to fourth running back Robert Hughes as the type of player he covets.
"They bring that attitude you want in the locker room, that we are only here to win the Super Bowl," Arians said.
The players in turn know exactly what to expect when joining the organization.
"It makes a big difference because you know tendencies and things they like," Hughes said. "You know how you have to go about your business."
FLOYD, GINN WILL MAKE TRIP TO MINNESOTA
Wide receivers Ted Ginn (knee) and Michael Floyd (groin) are expected to fly with the team for Saturday's second preseason game in Minnesota and will likely be game-time decisions.
Ginn seems closer to playing, as he was a limited participant in practice on Thursday, doing individual drills before watching the team periods. Floyd did not practice.
Defensive tackle Bruce Gaston injured his knee on Wednesday and sat out. Minter (pectoral), guard Jonathan Cooper (toe), center Lyle Sendlein (calf) and tackle Nate Potter (back) were also sidelined.