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'Violent' Zaven Collins Will Have Multiple Roles

Notes: Driskel looking for QB spot; Petzing undecided on game day place

Linebacker Zaven Collins has gotten significant work outside this offseason and at training camp.
Linebacker Zaven Collins has gotten significant work outside this offseason and at training camp.

The question has been how the Cardinals are going to use Zaven Collins.

The answer, defensive coordinator Nick Rallis said, is simple, and it won't be limited to Collins' new outside linebacking role.

"He's uniquely athletic for how big he is," Rallis said. "His role can expand to the edge. You can stack. He can rush inside. You can do a lot of different things."

Unlocking a new skillset still leaves a learning curve, and Rallis sees room from growth for Collins off the edge, rushing inside and even in coverage.

"You want him to inch forward with every technique that you need to use to execute scheme," Rallis said.

Collins has long been open to playing wherever the coaches want to put him. He was essentially put outside from the moment Rallis was hired after playing inside his first two seasons.

"Playing the outside edge is using a lot of technique work as much as it is brute force," Collins said. "I've changed my body type a little bit because I'm more on the line of scrimmage and have to be a little bigger."

At the end of the day, football is physical, and Rallis wants the best from Collins, who he called a "big violent man."

"It's a violent game in the box, whether you're on the edge or whether you're inside, he displays that violence," Rallis said.


Quarterback Jeff Driskel is no stranger to the grind of an NFL training camp, so even in his first year with the Cardinals, it's no different than his previous seven.

"Come in and carry over what you did in the spring, both the good and bad, into the reps that you're going to get at training camp," Driskel said. "In the NFL, reps are hard to come by. You need to go out and take advantage of everything you get."

He's trying to do just that. The quarterback room is packed. Including Driskel, there are four active quarterbacks and a fifth in the rehabbing Kyler Murray. The Cardinals won't keep all five quarterbacks, and figure to have only three, whether it is on the roster or including the practice squad. Murray's return will impact the numbers.

"Figuring out a way to make the team and help the team win games has always been my goal, and that hasn't changed so far," Driskel said.

The expectations for the Cardinals aren't that high across the NFL, but Driskel sees a team that is eager to learn.

"We enjoy being out there," Driskel said. "We're super competitive and make a lot of plays. But, at this point we have a long way to go. Every time we come off the field, there's really good discussion points and things to learn from. Every day is an opportunity to get better."


Offensive coordinator Drew Petzing isn't yet sure where he'll feel most comfortable calling the plays during games.

"That's going to be something to work through during training camp," Petzing said during an appearance on "The Dave Pasch Podcast." "I guess it'd be do one up (in the booth), or down (on the field) to feel where I'm more comfortable."

When he first started coaching, he'd be in the booth. During his time in Cleveland, he was on the sidelines. He wasn't calling plays then, however. What works best for everyone involved will also have an impact on the decision.

"I'll have to see where our communication as a staff is better," Petzing said. "I'll see where my communication with the players is better and move forward in that way."