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Linebacker Versatility Could Aid Chandler Jones Sack Quest

Notes: Cardinals release cornerback; TE Williams back at practice

The Cardinals have added Devon Kennard (42) to start across from All-Pro pass rusher Chandler Jones (55) this season.
The Cardinals have added Devon Kennard (42) to start across from All-Pro pass rusher Chandler Jones (55) this season.

Last year, Chandler Jones found himself asking a lot of questions of his fellow starting outside linebacker Terrell Suggs.

This year it's the opposite with Devon Kennard .

"Not that I don't ask Devon questions but he's asking me a lot of questions," the all-pro pass rusher said Monday. "I have to realize I am the older guy in the room now."

It's not the only way things are different for Jones this year, though, going from Suggs to Kennard. Suggs, the aging veteran, played one spot, on the right. Jones was on the left, at least until Suggs was released late in the year. This year, Jones and Kennard had a discussion right before camp about preferences between playing on the right or left side – and because both are flexible, it creates flexibility for defensive coordinator Vance Joseph as well.

"Hopefully," Joseph said, "we can get Chan more one-on-ones."

Isolating a guy who had 19 sacks and is one of the best sack artists in the league right now might be a difficult task. Kennard, who had seven sacks a year ago, isn't so much the guy who defenses will focus upon as much as a versatile piece that can open up avenues for which Joseph to put Jones in premier places.

"I've tried to study and prepare myself to do multiple things and let Chandler be Chandler," Kennard said. "We'll have the chance to not just be stagnant."

That versatility isn't just with Jones and Kennard, Jones said. He points to new outside linebacker Haason Reddick – who spent the last two seasons on the inside – as giving the Cards something similar. There is also rookie Isaiah Simmons , who comes into the league with versatility as his biggest selling point.

"We have a lot of guys who are, quote-unquote 'interchangeable,' " Jones said.

HUNDLEY AND MENTAL HEALTH

Quarterback Brett Hundley normally spends most of his off time in the offseason traveling the world. He didn't get that chance this summer because of the coronavirus, and he acknowledged missing out does make an impact.

"There aren't many times, especially in our society now, because we are all connected with social media, our phones, everything … traveling is my chance to get away from everything," Hundley said.

"To be able to get away and experience these different places and different cultures allows me to see and allows me to understand life is so much bigger than what we perceive it to be. … My travels are everything mentally for me to get away."

CORNERBACK RELEASED

The Cardinals continued to slowly trim the roster, cutting cornerback Jalen Davis Monday. Davis appeared in two games for the Cards in 2019. The roster stands at 74 players, with the team needing to cut to 53 by 1 p.m. Saturday.

FITZ RESTS ON HIS BIRTHDAY; WILLIAMS RETURNS

With the Cardinals transitioning to regular-season practice rules – only the first 20 open minutes can be observed – Larry Fitzgerald was not practicing, an apparent vet day on the wide receiver's 37th birthday. Veteran defensive tackle Corey Peters also wasn't working. Not seen in the open portion were running back Kenyan Drake (undisclosed injury) and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring), each of whom had dealt with maladies during camp.

Tight end Maxx Williams was on the field for the first time in a couple of weeks during the open portion.

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