Steve Wilks wrapped up his first training camp as Cardinals head coach on Wednesday afternoon.
When the team returns from Friday night’s second preseason game against the Saints, it will resume work at the training facility in Tempe. Wilks said there could be things he tweaks next year, but overall, was pleased with the experience at University of Phoenix Stadium.
“I feel like we came down here and accomplished a lot,” Wilks said. “Most importantly, trying to continue to emphasize and focus on the fundamentals and techniques of the game. Trying to create that mindset, the physicality and the effort that’s going to sustain us throughout the year.”
Many of the practices were physical and some were outside in triple-digit temperatures. Wilks slammed the gas pedal in the early portion of the preseason with the idea of letting off as the regular season gets closer. Training camp lasted fewer than three weeks. Last season, in part because the Hall of Fame Game allowed the Cardinals to report early, camp lasted five.
“My mindset is to frontload it,” Wilks said. “I want to get back to Tempe so I can get these guys into a routine of how it’s going to be during the season. Get their mind right, most importantly, and get their legs back underneath them.”
Rookie running back Chase Edmonds thought training camp flew by, but doesn’t feel like he’s embarking on a new chapter quite yet. There will be two more exhibition contests to prepare for in Tempe.
“I think the last day of school for me will be Week 4 of the preseason,” Edmonds said. “That’s when things get real.”
SECOND ACT FOR ROSEN
First-round pick Josh Rosen will play in his second preseason game on Friday. He is expected to get snaps with the first-team offense after Sam Bradford departs. When Rosen was asked what he wants to achieve with the starting offense, he kept it simple.
“Completions and touchdowns,” Rosen said.
Wilks was happy with the rookie quarterback's practice on Wednesday and hopes it will translate into a crisp performance against the Saints.
“He’s still learning,” Wilks said. “He’s still growing. He’s a rookie, and he’s going to have some bumps here and there. The guy has a short-term memory, which is great, and he’s a great competitor.”
The Cardinals had a bonding experience on Tuesday when Wilks took them to see the Mark Wahlberg flick ‘Mile 22.’
Edmonds liked the movie and particularly enjoyed the moment beforehand when rookie offensive lineman Will House had to belt out a country song to the captive audience. Wilks wanted to build some camaraderie off the field.
“The guys had a good time,” Wilks said.
BUTLER EXPECTED TO MISS SAINTS GAME
Wide receiver Brice Butler is not expected to play against the Saints after injuring his foot this week.
“I was thinking and hoping he would have an opportunity to go out there, but I think we’re going to hold him back this week,” Wilks said.
Linebackers Deone Bucannon (knee) and Josh Bynes (neck) are also likely to sit. Tight end Jermaine Gresham (Achilles) and defensive end Markus Golden (knee) remain on the physically unable to perform list and it’s unknown when they will start practicing.
“They’re on schedule,” Wilks said. “They’re doing a good job with their rehab. I think they’ll be ready and on point, hopefully, when the season starts.”
Images from the final training camp practice on Wednesday afternoon