Skip to main content

Arizona Cardinals Home: The official source of the latest Cardinals headlines, news, videos, photos, tickets, rosters and game day information

Players Return To Tempe As Jonathan Gannon Sets Culture

Voluntary workouts begin with revamped strength and conditioning staff

Running back James Conner gets in some stretching during the Cardinals' first day of voluntary offseason workouts.
Running back James Conner gets in some stretching during the Cardinals' first day of voluntary offseason workouts.

Kyler Murray was in the building, albeit rehabbing his ACL and unable to join in with his teammates for the first voluntary offseason workouts of the summer.

DeAndre Hopkins was not, releasing a video on social media of his own workouts away from the Dignity Healthy Training Center, and leading coach Jonathan Gannon to say "we'll see" when Hopkins may show up.

For many others on the roster – and the Cardinals at this point only have 67 of 90 possible roster spots filled – Tuesday was the day they got to know a new and much larger strength and conditioning staff, in addition to the first team meeting under Gannon.

"Players in the building," Gannon exclaimed as he entered his press conference. "Best I've been in two months."

"He set the tone for the culture and how he expects things to be," linebacker Zaven Collins said. "He (emphasized) today the rule, No. 1 team, No. 2 you, as in put the team before yourself. That's got to be us. That has to be."

Gannon had already talked to most players casually, but it was the first time they were in a group and the first time for positional meetings.

"We didn't give them everything today, but we introduced some things that I think is important to us as we hit this phase," Gannon said.

The Cardinals have their first veteran minicamp the week of the draft. That'll also be a crucial week when it comes to Hopkins and whether a trade could happen or not.

"I've been in communication with D-Hop and I want to do what's best for him and for us at the same time," Gannon said. "When he's ready to come, he'll come."

Murray continues to rehab, but again Gannon was loathe to put any expectations or evaluations on where Murray might be in the process. Tight end Zach Ertz, also rehabbing from an ACL tear, spoke to the media and said he still hopes to be ready for Week 1, which would include being able to return and practice at some point in training camp.

Ertz's rehab has had him in the building much of the time since the season ended.

"Everyone wants to make a big deal of the facilities and the (NFLPA) report card, but I can see first-hand there have been improvements already," Ertz said. "This place screams of so much potential, and it's up to everyone in the building to maximize that."

That includes the growth of the strength training staff, which has Shea Thompson as director of football performance, Evan Marcus as the new head of strength and conditioning and seven coaches total as Buddy Morris moved into a role as senior reconditioning coordinator focusing on rehab situations.

The offseason program runs from now through the mandatory minicamp in mid-June, with the first organized team activities May 22 after the initial minicamp. Phase Two work – where players can get on the field without helmets with their own side of the ball – comes before that.

The weight room work, and the meetings, are ongoing.

"I liked the pace and the tempo they were working at, and a couple of players already came up and were like, "this is good,' " Gannon said. "It's a huge aspect of a football team, and you've got to be thought-out and detailed on how you train these guys."

As for the recent stories about owner Michael Bidwill and pending arbitration with the league with former employee Terry McDonough, Gannon said that hasn't impacted him.

"My sole focus is on improving our team right now," Gannon said. "That's a distraction, but that's not going to take away from my focus, any outside noise like that. I'm worried about the players right now."

Images of the Arizona Cardinals working out at the Dignity Health Training Facility on the first day of the NFL offseason program