Recap: Arizona Cardinals first day of Minicamp

  • Jason Mulkey
Rookie Tight End Troy Niklas sits on the sideline at Tuesdays start of minicamp after suffering a broken hand in last weeks conclusion of OTA's (photo courtesy of www.revengeof

Rookie Tight End Troy Niklas sits on the sideline at Tuesdays start of minicamp after suffering a broken hand in last weeks conclusion of OTA’s (photo courtesy of www.revengeof



Tuesday marked the beginning of a three-day mandatory minicamp for the Arizona Cardinals, before the players are dismissed until training camp starts in late July.

This is where it starts to get serious!

On the eve of OTA’s which are voluntary workouts that can also merrily be described as a commune amongst each other including players, staff, and coaches, to get together and start a blueprint if you will of things to come. The minicamp is but of a different story, as the word mandatory comes into play, things tend to pick up a bit more steam. Coaches coach harder, and players jobs start to get put on the line now under their (the coaches) watches.

That being said, head coach Bruce Arians called the minicamp workouts the best of the off-season, as they practiced for a little more than 2 hours today in the scorching hot weather.

The newly acquired linebacker Ernie Sims certainly must not have left his “best” impression on the field in his first minicamp for the Cardinals. According to Kent Somers of AZCentral Sports, when asked how Sims was doing, Arians paused for about six seconds before saying

“O.K., O.K.”

Bobbie Massie started at right tackle on Tuesday. Massie is competing with Bradley Sowell, and Nate Potter for starting right tackle. Tyson Clabo’s name came could have potentially been thrown into the mix as well, but for now, it is just the three.

Arians explanation for bringing in the veteran right tackle said to be the reason the team is going to look at available bodies, but that does not necessarily mean they would sign someone with the sole reason to be the starter.

The right tackle position will not likely be determined until the pads are on, as reiterated by Arians, however the coach did acknowledge how Massie has gotten “much better” with mental mistakes at the right tackle position.

Arians spoke highly of safety Tony Jefferson, as well as Justin Bethel. He gave high praise to Bethel especially by saying that Bethel could become the Cardinals’ best cornerback at some point given his skill set. Well, I wouldn’t rule out Patrick Peterson as the best cornerback on the team just yet, but it’s nice to hear words of optimism from the head coach.

A few key players sat out of Tuesday’s minicamp.  Obviously second year safety Tyrann Mathieu could only watch from the sideline as he still recovers from knee surgery. There is still no timetable on his return. It is a long process, and will continue to be a long process, but one thing is for certain, Mathieu just wants to be out there according to an interview on, no matter how hot the temperature‘s outside.

Veteran John Abraham showed up for minicamp after sitting out almost all of OTA’s  as the Cardinals did not wish to over exceed his aging body, but was later sent home after throwing up a few times. Arians hopes he will return for Wednesday’s minicamp session.

Larry Fitzgerald was there, however he spent the majority of his first day at minicamp with strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris trying to work out some nagging hamstring issue that has been troubling the star receiver as of late.

Then there was rookie tight end Troy Niklas, who missed a few OTA sessions stemming from his off-season hernia surgery, but was able to finally practice with the team. His fortunes however would take an ugly turn, as he would get a finger caught and twisted in a jersey last week that resulted in a broken hand. Therefore, it is back to the sideline for the rookie, although Arians said he expects the tight end back for training camp.

“It kind of sucks I’m missing out of the reps. It’s frustrating. … I feel like I know the offense and I know what to do. Now it’s about teaching my body how to do it.” Niklas said in a quote according to Darren Urban of

On a lighter note, rookie first round pick safety Deone Bucannon returned to the practice field after suffering from a turf-toe injury that sidelined him.

The Cardinals have two more practices today and tomorrow, before being excused from team activities until training came a little more than a month away. At which point it will be time to strap on the boots and scrape up the knuckles as former player and Cardinals color analyst Ron Wolfly like to say.

Phoenix Sports-Kings co-lead columnist Jason Mulkey @_JayBird79

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