Whether Maxx Williams will be ready to play in the season opener remains undetermined. But the tight end has now been out on the practice field for two straight days after being activated off the Physically-Unable-To-Perform list, and with the way things had gone with Williams after his ACL tear, it did surprise.
"He was just ready," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "He was ahead of schedule. Basically knocking down everybody's door, 'What are you doing, this is it, let's go.' Only way to find out is to get him out there."
Williams always has had an upbeat attitude, playing or not. He kept up a presence on social media while he was hurt last season, particularly on game days rooting on his teammates. But there is little doubt he wanted to be on the field, and if he is able to contribute, it would be a significant development for the Cardinals.
"He's been fired up," Kingsbury said. "I think it has kind of inspired us to see where he came from to where he's at and what he's able to do. I am hoping he can continue to feel good about his progress and we can get him out there. As far as an in-line blocker and the things he does with that, he's one of the best in the league."
Kingsbury said Williams is moving much better than he anticipated (and as an impartial observer, I'd have to agree.) I don't know if they are putting him in a game at any point -- he has yet to go through any drills where he contacts another player -- but hopefully, that will come by month's end.
-- There has been one thing after another for the Cardinals in camp, the latest being running backs coach James Saxon being put on administrative leave after a domestic battery charge. Kingsbury was asked about having to answer so many such questions as opposed to say, strictly questions about the battle at right guard or cornerback depth.
"As a head football coach you want the focus to be on football and you don't want the distractions for your team," Kingsbury said. "It's early in camp. I am hoping we can get back to focusing on football. It's never something you want to be standing up here answering every day it seems like, but that's how it's played out. As an organization we have to do a better job handling our business."
-- The practice itself Friday did not provide many highlights. Many veterans again were resting, with the Red and White Practice coming on Saturday. I counted 18 key starters/vets not practicing because of injury or just rest. Practice was cut short in part because of so few bodies. Kingsbury said he didn't want to use players scheduled for rest just to fill in for injured bodies, one of the reasons so many guys sat out.
-- One guy sitting, tight end Zach Ertz, hurt his calf, but Kingsbury said there was no concern about it being a long-term problem.
-- There was a pass rush by Dennis Gardeck during 11-on-11 in which he showed great bend off the edge and got past left tackle D.J. Humphries for a probable sack. If Gardeeck has that explosion and can be a weapon in the pass rush, it would be so important.
-- Colt McCoy was one of the vets resting, so the QBs were down to Trace McSorley and Jarrett Guarantano. I don't know how likely he can push for the third QB role, but Guarantano has thrown some nice balls during camp so far. He has, as they like to say in the biz, a live arm.