Of course Arians said getting his offensive linem

first_imgOf course, Arians said getting his offensive linemen healthy will be the biggest thing.Banking on Nkemdiche?To classify Robert Nkemdiche’s rookie season as anything other than a disappointment would be a bit disingenuous, given that the first-round pick appeared in just five games and notched three tackles, one pass defensed, one QB hit and one QB pressure. An ankle injury suffered in training camp set him back, and his effort, which was questioned at times during college, popped up as an issue in the NFL.“I wouldn’t say any of those concerns were off the field, other than just learning to be a pro,” Arians said. “When a little bit of time he was healthy, we saw all the things we needed to see that we made the right pick.“That ankle injury was more severe than probably any of us knew until the end of the season, when it re-occurred and there was a slight tear. It’s all healed now, but I think, again, when you kick everybody’s [butt] from high school to college, you don’t have to work that hard. But all of a sudden these guys are kicking your [butt], and you better learn how to work.”Arians said that goes for all rookies — not just Nkemdiche — and that he learned to work by the second half of the season. PHOENIX — The Arizona Cardinals’ roster is not yet complete, but aside from what players they add in the NFL Draft and in the days that follow it, not much more is likely to change.So, where does the team stand? Is it better than the roster that put together a 7-8-1 season in 2016?Head coach Bruce Arians seems to think so, and on Wednesday at the Arizona Biltmore as part of the NFL Owner’s Meetings he gave some insight into his roster. Much of what he said has or will be turned into stories, such as his thoughts on finding a QB, the idea that David Johnson cannot be overused, the Cardinals don’t need to spend a high pick on a receiver and the team is fine at cornerback, but for the rest of the notes that did not quite make the story cut, there is this: Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires “We’re so fortunate we have two left tackles — most people don’t have any,” Arians said. “Somebody’s going to play right; right now it appears Jared is going to make that move.“I haven’t completely sold on it, but I want to see him at that position first. I saw D.J. play right, so I’m fine there. So I would like to see Jared try it because it’s all about what’s best for the team, and he is the ultimate team player.”While the tackles are the more high-profile spots along the line, the only drama surrounding them involves which player will man which side. With the interior portion of the front, there are some question marks.Like, for instance, what will happen at right guard?“I think Evan Boehm, those last three ball games, showed that he can play that position,” Arians said. “He will start at right guard the first day.”Boehm was thought to be competing for the center job — and he still may — but Arians said the team bringing back last year’s starter, A.Q. Shipley, was important.“To get Q back was huge because he knows the offense and he’s so comfortable with Carson (Palmer),” he said. “Evan did such a good job at guard, I wanted to leave him there.” In fairness, the team did not exactly need him to play a big role last season. But with Calais Campbell now in Jacksonville, the 29th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft will be expected to take on a larger role on the defensive line.It’s Miller time — maybeA sixth-round pick, Harlan Miller spent the first 15 weeks of the 2016 season on the Cardinals’ practice squad. The cornerback was promoted to the active roster for Week 16 against the Seahawks, but when he found his way onto the field it was at safety.That’s where Miller played for the final two games of the season, in which Miller acquitted himself well by collecting six total tackles and one interception.According to Arians, Miller will stay at safety.“We’re going to leave him at safety, knowing we have an extra corner,” he said. “He trained his whole life as a corner, we’ll train him at safety.”Follow Adam Green on Twitter The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Comments   Share   Karlos adds to the linebackersThe Cardinals’ addition of veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby may not have resonated outside of the Valley, though in Arizona, there is probably plenty of excitement over him coming back.One of the more popular players in team history, Dansby is 35-years old and beginning his third stint with the franchise. Though he is closer to the end of his career than its beginning, Arians is bullish on the linebacker’s prospects.“We were so much better with Karlos, with his leadership,” Arians said. “Karlos has those freaky genetics, where he may play four more years.”With the Bengals last season, Dansby recorded 114 total tackles and one sack; with the Cardinals in 2013, he posted 122 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, 19 passes defensed and four interceptions.“He just never ages,” Arians said. “I was shocked — I turned on the tape and he looked younger this year than he did last year. The tape doesn’t lie.”Arians said the plan is for Dansby to line up next to $ LB Deone Bucannon, and acknowledged it would be nice to find a young inside linebacker to learn under the veteran.Along the lineCardinals tackle Jared Veldheer has been learning how to play on the right side because he, like most people, anticipate him making the switch from left tackle to right tackle. That would allow third-year pro D.J. Humphries to move from the right side to the left side, where he appears to be more comfortable. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img

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