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Jonathan Gannon Loves The Idea Of Cardinals Huddling

Notes: Depth chart still fluid; Mack hurting as running backs in flux

New coach Jonathan Gannon likes the idea of huddling for myriad reasons.
New coach Jonathan Gannon likes the idea of huddling for myriad reasons.

Before the play starts – before it is even called – the Cardinals will be in the huddle, and just the idea of it moves Jonathan Gannon to wax poetic.

"Nothing like a huddle," Gannon said. "The signal caller has to walk in the huddle and give the call clearly. They have to understand what is coming out of his mouth. They have to break the huddle, they have to get their eyes on the defense. I think it sets the tone for the play.

"I'm always on the defense to get in and out of the huddle and I'm always on the offense to get in and out of the huddle. It's important how we deliver it too. It's loud. There is a reason I pump the music out there (at practice). I want to make it hard for them to communicate and hear. In Washington it's going to be hard for our offense to hear, and Week 2 (at home) it's going to be hard for our defense to hear. We try to put pressure on them that way."

Under the Kliff Kingsbury regime, the offense was different. Quarterback Colt McCoy noted how the Cardinals would often use signals or non-verbal avenues. No longer.

That doesn't mean the Cardinals never used a huddle before. They huddled the majority of the time. But their no-huddle rate of 32.7 percent of snaps last season was still by far the highest. The Seahawks were second in the NFL, foregoing a huddle 20 percent of the snaps.

That percentage figures to change under Gannon.

"There is something sacred about the huddle," Gannon said.


Veteran Antonio Hamilton was listed as a starting cornerback even as young players like Kei'Trel Clark and Christian Matthew get reps above him, but defensive coordinator Nick Rallis said the position remains wide open – and Hamilton is being evaluated as much as the others.

"That corner competition is really good right now," Rallis said. "People are going to show over the next week when we play Denver and continue with training camp, who is going to emerge and take certain roles. I would never say, 'We know what this guy is.' Everybody can improve."

Offensive coordinator Drew Petzing acknowledged "a big deal" is made about preseason depth charts, but everything remains fluid.

"We have another month before we play a game," Petzing said. "It's an opportunity to compete. I'd tell (players) the same thing, I wouldn't read too far into it. We all have a job we have to earn over the next three or four weeks."


What the Cardinals will do at running back behind James Conner is still a work in progress. It would help if the team could have a full complement to judge.

Marlon Mack left the practice field with help on Tuesday after hurting his leg in a 7-on-7 drill. Ty'Son Williams did return to practice, but Keaontay Ingram remains limited in what he is going to do. Corey Clement remains guy getting No. 2 reps.

"A lot of that is it is going to come down to those game reps," Petzing said. "It's hard at times (to judge) when you are not tackling, at that position. It's going to look very different in a game than practice."

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