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Interest Hasn't Waned For Isaiah Simmons To Branch Out

Notes: Roster fully healthy after break; No answer yet on Moore as return man

Linebacker Isaiah Simmons guards wide receiver Andy Isabella at a recent practice.
Linebacker Isaiah Simmons guards wide receiver Andy Isabella at a recent practice.

The subject of Isaiah Simmons playing in different spots on the defense has been broached before, and make no mistake, the idea is "something that interests me for sure," the second-year player said.

Simmons played nine of the 11 defensive spots in college. He doesn't have an exact number he thinks he can play at a high level in the NFL, but the confidence to do it is high.

"The more you go about it (over time), the better it'll be, because you'll hear a call and think conceptually as opposed to, 'This is my responsibility,' " the inside linebacker said. "Eventually, I'm sure I could learn everything. I'm not going to line up as a three-tech(nique) or a nose (tackle), but bouncing around different places in the secondary. Probably leave the corner jobs to them out there."

The Cardinals spent plenty of practice time in training camp using Simmons elsewhere than inside linebacker in a package with fellow inside linebackers Zaven Collins and Jordan Hicks. Hicks will come off the bench when Collins and Simmons play their regular spots.

The depth questions at cornerback also create some opportunity for defensive coordinator Vance Joseph to mix-and-match while moving Simmons around.

"As he goes, he'll be able to handle more and more," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "I don't know if we'll get to nine, like he did in college, but we definitely can move him to different spots and he's used to playing in different spots.

"We just want to make sure whatever we're giving him right now he can handle and play at a high level."

That still starts with inside linebacker, which is going to remain Simmons' main role.

"As of right now, I just want to make sure I can master the inside linebacker position before I even branch out," Simmons said.


The Cardinals are healthy.

OK, they did have to put defensive lineman Jordan Phillips on IR last week, but for the players currently on the 53-man roster, all were practicing Monday.

"We are as of now," Kingsbury said. "With the Covid stuff, you never know day-to-day, but it was good to have all 53 guys out there."

The Cardinals do not put out their first official injury report of the season until Wednesday.


Kingsbury said the Cardinals have not yet decided if rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore will return kickoffs and/or punts.

"We're still working through that part of it and seeing what kind of role he'll have offensively and then take it from there," Kingsbury said.

Said Moore, "That's for coach (Jeff) Rodgers and coach Kliff to decide. For me, it's going to practice every day and work my tail off and do what I am coached to do."

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