Cardinals Working Through Numbers Game At Receiver

Wide receiver Trent Sherfield runs after the catch during Friday's practice.
Wide receiver Trent Sherfield runs after the catch during Friday's practice.

Larry Fitzgerald is off to a good start in camp, as is Christian Kirk, and that makes sense for the Cardinals’ best two receivers.

The Cards are sorting their depth chart at wideout beyond that – and even Kliff Kingsbury acknowledged he has a learning curve as he tries to pick and choose.

Kingsbury said he is used to playing eight receivers from his time as a college coach. That certainly won’t happen in the NFL, where teams usually only keep six on a 53-man roster and often have just five active on game days.

Depending on what the Cardinals want to do on offense, those numbers certainly could grow some. Kingsbury suggested the Cards could keep seven receivers, which he said five teams did a season ago.

“Getting those numbers to where they are at (on game days), it’ll take multiple guys knowing every position across the board,” Kingsbury said. “The more you know at that position, the better off you’ll be in making this team.”

Rookie Andy Isabella had a good second day of practice. Trent Sherfield and Kevin White have gotten snaps with the first unit, and so has Damiere Byrd.

“I always (thought), how can they plug all those guys in?” Kingsbury said. “Luckily, with Steve (Keim) and Vance (Joseph) and (assistant head coach) Jeff Rodgers, all these guys who have been doing it a long time, they have helped me with the numbers. The (roster) process will be unique but I am looking forward to it.”

EVALUATING NKEMDICHE

Asked for an evaluation, Kingsbury didn’t exactly have a ringing endorsement of defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, who is currently rehabbing from his ACL tear and is on the physically unable to perform list.

“Not in shape, I guess,” Kingsbury said. “That’s kind of where we’ll leave it.”

Kingsbury added the Cards will work with Nkemdiche when he comes off PUP, although as he goes into the last year of his contract, Nkemdiche figures to have work to do for a roster spot.

Kingsbury did say linebacker Brooks Reed (hip) could be coming off PUP soon.

TWITTER GETS JALEN THOMPSON THROUGH HIS “DRAFT DAY”

Rookie safety Jalen Thompson was picked in the fifth round, but it was the fifth round of the supplemental draft after he lost his final season at Washington State when it was deemed a supplement he used was against the rules.

Whereas players picked in April can watch TV and see their name announced or at least scroll across the screen, Thompson was stuck scanning social media in July.

“I had to look on Twitter and see where I got picked up,” Thompson said. “I saw something where the Colts had picked me up at one point, but it was just a mistake. It got deleted really quick.”

Thompson has been working at both safety spots as well as the nickel as he tried to catch up to the rest of the rookie class. Still, “I feel like the Cardinals got a steal in me,” he said.

As for missing out on a regular draft experience, Thompson insisted he harbors no ill will.

“Of course I dreamt of that and hoped that would happen, but just getting to the NFL, that was the real dream for me,” Thompson said. “I’m not mad about anything. It was supposed to happen this way.”

VALENTINE LEAVES, REDDICK SITS

Defensive tackle Vincent Valentine left practice after going down with what looked like a right knee injury. He walked off the field with help. Linebacker Haason Reddick and safety D.J. Swearinger sat out practice, although Swearinger said he was given the day off.

Images from the first practice of 2019 #CardsCamp

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