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Structure - Not Rules - Are At Heart Of Jonathan Gannon's Way

Notes: Battle at center still ongoing; Prater ready for 17th season

Defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter breaks down the huddle after practice on Tuesday.
Defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter breaks down the huddle after practice on Tuesday.

It's structure and style Jonathan Gannon wants for his team and for his players to live under.

He doesn't want to call them rules though, because "we have one rule, and everything kind of fits into that."

That one rule isn't as much a command. Rather, it's an expectation.

"Rules can be distractions to me," Gannon said. "It's more like, this is how I want us to behave as a team. All these things that you could have questions about kind of fall into that."

For instance, Gannon mentioned prior to training camp that fighting would be non-negotiable. L.J. Collier and Dennis Daley learned that firsthand on Saturday. The two were ejected from practice.

"We point out good and bad, what's expected, and what we want to get out of practice," Gannon said. "Our guys are fully aware of our expectations and standards."

Tuesday's practice was the first that featured pads. With the physicality ramping up, Gannon said they educated their players the previous night.

It all goes into the standard that the coaching staff is trying to instill, both on and off the field.

"If we say we want to win, we need to do these things. It's not results driven. It's process driven," Gannon said. "This is how we're going to have to operate on a daily basis. Not just on the practice field, but in meetings, meal room, recovery sessions, walkthroughs. All those things play a role in getting us ready as a team and individually to play our best football."


There's a question mark around the starting center position, and the Cardinals continue to try out various combinations.

"That's one of those positions some guys are comfortable doing and some aren't," offensive coordinator Drew Petzing said. "The more people on your roster that can do it, the better off you're going to be."

Hjalte Froholdt has taken most of the first-team reps thus far. Last season, four of Froholdt's six starts were at the center spot. Rookie Jon Gaines II has been taking the second unit snaps.

Petzing believes that having cohesiveness, communication, and anticipating the reaction across the entire offensive line is crucial. At center specifically, there's a lot more that goes into the position than just the snap.

"The intelligence required and the relationship with the quarterback is really important," Petzing said. "We're going to work through, let them go out and compete, and let the best man win."


When kicker Matt Prater joined the NFL in 2007, "Irreplaceable" by Beyonce finished atop the Billboard charts. Seventeen years later, both Prater -- and Beyonce -- remain at the top of their game.

"When everybody is watching the game on the line, he normally puts it through," Gannon said.

Sitting behind Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Prater is the second longest tenured player in the NFL. Prater made 88 percent of his field goals a year ago, his best percentage since 2015.

"I have a routine in the weight room, how many times I'm kicking a week, and trying to gradually build up through camp," Prater said. "I'm not trying to be midseason form-game ready right now, but you want to peak going into the regular season."

The routine has allowed him to stay fresh as he's gotten older. His wealth of experience has been helpful for a new coaching staff.

"He's been around a lot of people and a lot of ball. He's been on some good teams and bad teams," Gannon said. "He's a good sounding board for me because they (specialists) have a little bit of a different role. They can sit back sometimes and see what's going on. I listen to Matt a lot."

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