Images from the second day of voluntary offseason work
Kliff Kingsbury left a good first impression on one of his best players Monday, but maybe not the way he intended.
The Cardinals’ coach sent a message to the entire roster that morning, communicating how excited he was to have them in the building for the start of voluntary offseason work. Budda Baker appreciated the pleasantry, but the third-year safety also had something else on his mind.
“We (the players) were talking about the parking, because we didn’t know the parking situation yet,” Baker said. “I had my spot last year. I didn’t know if it changed. No one put that out yet, so I hit him up, like, ‘So, what are the parking arrangements?’”
Baker passed along the good news to the media on Tuesday afternoon.
“I get to keep my spot,” Baker said.
Like several others on the team, Baker is on his third coach in the past three years and ready to get to know Kingsbury. While only strength and conditioning coaches are allowed to be on the field with the players, the team had its first meeting on Monday, where Kingsbury was finally able to address the group after several months of anticipation.
With the parking situation squared away, Baker had time to get a feel for Kingsbury’s personality.
“It’s a whole new, different type of energy,” Baker said, adding that “when you listen to him, he’s big into getting things done.”
David Johnson felt the same vibe. The Cardinals’ star running back seems like a good fit for Kingsbury’s offense, and their personalities should similarly mesh if Monday’s meeting is a harbinger of things to come.
“Loved it,” Johnson said. “High energy. He’s straight to the point. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything. He let’s you know exactly what he wants. He’s not going to have a big spiel about it. His big thing is to come ready on time and come with a lot of energy.”
Cornerback Robert Alford is a new face on the Cardinals, but he’s one of the few familiar ones for Kingsbury. Alford said the pair met when Kingsbury was on the Saints with Alford’s older brother, Fred Booker, in 2004.
Alford also spoke optimistically of his new coach as the Cardinals aim to turn things around after last season’s 3-13 mark.
“Just knowing Kliff, he’s a stand-up guy, a player’s coach,” Alford said. “Just coming into that meeting, he was pretty straightforward. The team they had last year is last year. Now we’re moving forward, and we’re looking forward to pushing this franchise the way it’s supposed to go, in a positive direction.”
The players begin the offseason program under new coach Kliff Kingsbury.