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Zaven Collins Doesn't Need Cinderella Story, Just Solid Play

Linebacker heading into crucial second season

There were, Zaven Collins admitted, "some bad practices." There were not one but two times when the inside linebacker hurt his shoulder.

"Last year didn't go as everyone would want but that is part of life," Collins said, adding, "when you have bad practices, you're not going to play."

The reality is Collins -- and the Cardinals -- need this season to go as everyone would want. Collins was supposed to be the "guy" as a rookie, but no, it didn't turn out that way. Jordan Hicks is in Minnesota now, though, and while Collins brought up how the inside linebackers are interchangable, there are only a couple that are first-round draft picks under the spotlight: Collins and Isaiah Simmons.

Simmons at least has flashed. Collins not enough. Not yet.

"It's not going to be a Cinderella story always," Collins said. "If everything was easy, it'd be too good to be true."

Collins has improved this offseason, and truthfully, the offseason between a players rookie and second season is often where the biggest jump happens. But the spotlight is already shining brightly on Collins, and that won't dim anytime soon.

"If (last season) is the hardest thing I have to go through in my NFL career," Collins said, "I think we're going to be alright."

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Zaven Collins (25) practices during Week 3 of the OTA offseason program on Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Tempe, AZ.