Cardinals defensive tackle Ed Stinson (left) locks up with guard Evan Mathis at a training camp practice this week.
Ed Stinson has been with the starting unit since OTAs, a spot he may or may not keep on the defensive line once Frostee Rucker finally comes off the PUP list with a foot injury.
Stinson would like to remain the starter, but he'll understand if Rucker regains his starting role and "we're going to split those plays up anyway," he said. "I'll still get the playing time."
That's because the Cardinals are committed to a steady defensive line rotation, which is helped by a defensive line depth chart that has significant depth.
"Look at the formula the Broncos used to win the Super Bowl, it was waves, they just took turns," defensive lineman Calais Campbell said. "The rotation was strong. Their top guys were fresh in the fourth quarter. With as much talent as they do – or we have – it makes sense."
It certainly makes sense to coach Bruce Arians, who is all about the D-line rotation.
"You don't want anyone out there playing tired," Arians said. "As soon as you're playing tired, you'll give up a big play."
Arians points out the Cardinals have an impressive group, noting that third-unit Josh Mauro, Xavier Williams and Red Bryant could start on a line for some teams. Arians noted Olson Pierre's steady play in camp, and Pierre isn't usually even considered in the mix. Corey Peters – nursing plantar fasciitis – and Rodney Gunter are the other defensive linemen in the mix.
The Cardinals figure to keep seven or eight defensive linemen and Pierre would be the 10th. Difficult cuts will come at the end of the preseason. But that also means the Cards can shuttle linemen in and out and not worry about the quality of play.
"It's a plus to have someone come in and do the same job you're doing at the same level without making mistakes," Stinson said.
NO MORE LOAFING
Arians had said he had to have "conversations" with some young players after they were being lazy in their practice efforts,
especially on special teams.
The coach said there was a noticeable difference in Friday's work, as players realized they'd rather play in the NFL for a living.
"They thought about flippin' burgers and bagging groceries," Arians said. "(Expletive), they'd have to give change and they can't count."
With a week of practices down, the Cardinals have a growing list of players who sat out practice Saturday. Arians did not offer any new injury updates earlier in the day, but sitting out were WR John Brown (concussion protocol), WR J.J. Nelson (groin), DT Robert Nkemdiche (ankle), CB Mike Jenkins (hand), CB Elie Bouka (hamstring), C Taylor Boggs (calf) and Peters (foot). CB Asa Jackson, wearing a walking boot, was also out.
Rucker (foot), S Tyrann Mathieu (knee), CB Justin Bethel (foot) and LB Zack Wagenmann (foot) remain on the PUP list.
The Cardinals seemed to come out of Saturday's Red-White practice without any new problems. Guard Mike Iupati did go down after a play when it looked like someone rolled on the back of his leg and ankle, but after a brief time down, Iupati got up and went back in the lineup.