Arizona Cardinals: “Outstanding” OTA’s– and a few other Takeaways
The organized team activities, though optional, still serve its purpose. It is strictly voluntary work; but almost all players will show up none-the-less. There are a few veterans missing here and there, but regardless, the OTA sessions act as filler more or less, just for the team to see what it’s working with.
“It’s mostly assignments and competition, especially amongst the skill players,” Arians said of what is to gain from OTAs.—quote according to Adam Green of Arizona Sports Now on 98.7 FM
Coach Bruce Arians has his Arizona Cardinals working towards those assignments. There are various competitions going on all over the place. One in particular is a three-way battle at the right tackle position between veterans Bobby Massie, Bradley Sowell, and now Nate Potter, who just recently been added to the mix.
Do not forget it was Potter who started in six games his rookie year in 2012, although none last season. In large part due to current free agent Eric Winston who staffed the right, tackle position for the Cardinals in 2013. Now that he is gone, it has made room for the other three men to make their dues with the team. Arians likes the versatility that Potter brings to the table, but has to do his due-diligence on the two others as well.
“We’re going to keep throwing all three guys in there to see who comes out on top,” Arians said. “Bobby’s done very well. Bradley is inconsistent. Nate is probably the smartest of the three. It’s just a matter of physically holding up.—quote according to Kyle Odegard of azcardinals.com
Thus an offensive unit that stayed relatively injury free a season ago.
Arians spoke highly of Potter on Thursday as Kyle’s blog also quoted the coach of saying:
“Nate always stays in the mix because he’s so smart and he has position flexibility,” Arians said. “He played guard for us last year, played left tackle, right tackle. He’s a valuable guy when it comes to Sunday.”
Another ensuing three-way battle included that of the Kicker. 14-year veteran Jay Feely currently holds the thrown there, and intends to keep it that way. Danny Hrapmann is one of the other kickers in the fold, but the real show belonged to undrafted free agent rookie kicker Chandler Catanzaro who sent everybody home early on Thursday with a much-needed successful field goal kick that went right through the uprights as the pressure was on.
“I said, ‘Alright, we’re going to find out if this kid’s got anything,’” Arians said. “There’s no more pressure than peer pressure. And he knocked it down the pipe. That told me a lot about him.”
Arians said that Catanzaro struggled all week with field goal attempts, and though he is a long-shot to make the team, perhaps it was just a last-ditch effort for the coach, to see how well he could do under pressure.
There are a couple wide receivers’ making outstanding impressions as well.
One of which is quite possibly the one player making the biggest splash of all OTA participants for the Cardinals, rookie John Brown. Brown may come from a small school at Pittsburg State, but his transition to the NFL level has been that of remarkable, as he has since joining the team shown a mental toughness like none-other.
He is way ahead of most rookies, according to coach Arians–video courtesy of AZCardinals.com
“and coming from a small school, that’s unusual,” Arians said. “It doesn’t overwhelm him at all. He learns fast and he can apply it fast.”
The other receiver who seems to be making a good first impression played just a few short blocks away from the Cardinals Tempe training facility at Arizona State University.
Wide Receiver Kyle Ozier was that of a stranger to Arians in the rookie mini-camp tryout session just a couple of weeks ago. His play on the practice field did not stand out as strange however, as Ozier was signed to a contract after those three-days of tryout.
“He came in and picked things up quickly for a tryout (player),” Arians said. “The guys that had been here for two weeks, he got it all thrown at him and he’s out there performing better than the guys that had been here for two weeks.”
Arians stressed that the real test will come into fruition once the pads go on and the fur flies as current radio color commentator and former Cardinal himself Ron Wolfley likes to say. Nothing will be determined until players starting getting hit in a little more than a month away come training camp.
None-the-less, coach Arians had high praise for his teams participation throughout OTA’s, calling it an “Outstanding effort,”
We will see if the “Outstanding effort” can hold its weight come September, and throughout the rest of the 2014 season.
Phoenix Sport-Kings co lead columnist Jason Mulkey @_JayBird79