Isaiah Simmons' primary role will be inside linebacker, working in tandem with Zaven Collins. That's the whole idea, creating a two-headed menace for offenses in the middle of the field.
But what got Simmons drafted – his incredible versatility – isn't suddenly going to be forgotten. So during the open part of the final practices of training camp, you can see the 2020 first-round pick work individual drills sometimes with the outside linebackers, or with the cornerbacks.
"We have him in different spots," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "He'll be covering at times, so we want to continue to work that, work is pass rush stuff, work his (inside) 'backer stuff. He's a guy who is going to have a very important, impactful role at a number of different positions."
When Simmons isn't at inside linebacker, it will allow the Cardinals to get linebacker Jordan Hicks – who has had a good camp – on the field with Collins on the inside. Simmons' athleticism has been shown in practice and in preseason games, at inside and outside linebacker. He has even lined up in slot coverage.
On one play, Simmons was in coverage on 3rd-and-9 on Chiefs speedy wideout Mecole Hardman. Hardman caught a 6-yard pass with plenty of cushion, but Simmons' tremendous speed when the ball was in the air allowed him to drill Hardman as soon as Hardman made the catch, three yards shy of a first down.
That's the rare ability Simmons can carry everywhere on the field, to different spots.
"He'll be where we want him to be," Kingsbury said. "Week in and week out, where we can maximize him versus that opponent, we will use him accordingly."
ALFORD 'MAY BE' LATEST COVID CASE
Cornerback Robert Alford wasn't at practice Wednesday, and Kingsbury said Alford "may be" put into Covid protocol. The veteran was held out of practice as a precaution as the team double-checked Alford's status.
The Cardinals still have two players already on the Reserve/COVID-19 list: Guard Justin Pugh and defensive lineman Jordan Phillips.
The Cardinals re-signed cornerback Luq Barcoo on Wednesday, after originally claiming him off waivers from Jacksonville and then releasing him with a failed physical.
"There were some some administrative, procedural things, and we got him back," Kingsbury said.
GREEN ON FITZ
Wide receiver A.J. Green has never officially been teammates with Larry Fitzgerald, but the two have had a long-standing friendship, and Green expressed some potential optimism when he heard about the comments from the future Hall of Famer.
"When he said he didn’t have the urge right now, that means it's still in the back of his head," Green said with a chuckle. "That's what I took from that. If Larry had said he's done, he's done. I would've believed him. 'Right now' are the key words. It's still back there (in his head.)"