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Officials In The Meeting Rooms, And Camp Practice Aftermath

Cardinals get started on their first game week

In the quest to curb their penalty problem, the Cardinals have at times in camp brought officials into the meeting rooms so there can be a dialogue between coaches, players and the men who will throw the yellow hankies.

"It's to see what they see," veteran offensive lineman Justin Pugh said. "You try to butter them up if you can, tell them their hair looks nice."

Pugh was joking (mostly), although it's good to have a decent relationship with the referees, and "it's good to see how they see things."

It's not the first time. Coach Kliff Kingsbury has done it since he arrived in Arizona, and Pugh said it's been done for him every year he's been in the league. It doesn't guarantee the penalty count will shrink, but it can't hurt to concentrate parts of meetings on the subject.

"To have that type of access for our players, 'Hey, was this a penalty, was this not a penalty, can we do this this year, can we not do this this year,' it's been really helpful," Kingsbury said, with the idea the players and officials can watch the video together and answer questions. "They just want to get it right, as do we."

-- At practice Monday, the Cardinals, even with the addition of newcomer Darius Kilgo, only had a handful of defensive linemen healthy. J.J. Watt, Jordan Phillips, Zach Allen and Corey Peters didn't practice, and Rashard Lawrence was also absent. Will be interesting to see who is suited up for the game Friday. Who even can suit up. Wide receivers A.J. Green and Rondale Moore remain out too.

-- Kingsbury confirmed that quarterback Kyler Murray will play some Friday. I wouldn't expect to see him long. Kingsbury said most players "will see some action," but we will see what exactly that means.

-- Cornerback Malcolm Butler came out of practice Monday after laying out for an interception attempt. He got up and jogged off the field, but he looked like he did something to his hip or back – something you'd rather not have be an issue.

-- I thought Murray looked more consistent Monday than he did Saturday. He dropped a nice pass, throwing off his back foot under pressure, over linebacker Zaven Collins into DeAndre Hopkins' hands.

-- Interesting that Pugh would say, unprovoked, that everyone should "keep an eye on" running back Jonathan Ward. Ward is someone I've noticed in practices too.

-- Felt like the defense was bringing a lot of blitzers on the quarterbacks Monday. Along those lines, Isaiah Simmons really popped at practice. His athleticism has been on display daily. I'm anxious to see both he and Zaven Collins in a game, even if it is a preseason.

-- Rookie cornerback Marco Wilson got a taste of what it's like to cover Hopkins. Hopkins gave him a stutter-step-and-go and Murray hit Hopkins over the top.

-- Pugh about new center Rodney Hudson: "It's almost like a – he's going to get mad at me for saying this – a Chris Paul-type addition. Where you bring in that guy with veteran leadership who knows how to do things right off the field and it trickles on to the field."

RB Jonathan Ward
RB Jonathan Ward