Under the radar would be a good way to describe the tight ends on the Arizona Cardinals, especially Dan Arnold.
Well, that changed a tad last week when Peter Schrager went on a rant on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football touting Arnold as an excellent fantasy pick this season.
The video was posted on Twitter, which resulted in Cardinals guard Justin Pugh responding by tweeting, “Double down. Should’ve seen the catch he made today.”
Asked about the national pub Monday, Arnold said some college friends sent it to him, but he remained relatively low-key about the attention.
“It's pretty cool, pretty awesome to have some recognition from the outside world,” Arnold said. “But I think one of the nice things about doing training camp here at State Farm (Stadium) is that we're kind of locked into what we're doing. It's nice to have some of that recognition, but at the same time, we got to go in and practice each and every day, no matter what, and it doesn't change anything about what we got to do on the practice field. So it's nice to have that, but at the same time, you got to kind of tuck it away and be focused on which what you're doing.”
As for the catch Pugh referenced, Arnold also mentioned how everything has ramped up with padded practices starting last week. He said, “It just happened in one of our team periods. Once we hit these two weeks where we are allowed to go pads and really go full-go, I think guys are champing at the bit to really compete and make each other better. I had a really good catch, but it's just one of those things that you got to be able to do consistently. So having that recognition from your teammates is nice, but it can't just be a one-and-done thing. It has to be something you got to do week in and week out.”
Arnold came to the Cardinals on waivers last season after being cut by the Saints on Dec. 4. For New Orleans, he played just two games, was inactive for four and had two receptions for 25 yards.
After arriving in Arizona, he was inactive for one game, played in the next two and then started in the season-finale 31-24 loss to the Rams.
Arnold opened some eyes with four catches for 76 yards that included a 37-yard touchdown and another 23-yard play. The 37-yard play tied Rams wide receiver Robert Woods for the longest play in the game. Arnold participated in 44 percent of the team’s offensive plays.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday, “He earned those snaps. From the first day that we brought him in, he was running scout team, because we were trying to work him into the offense. He was making plays all over the field. So it didn't take us long to get him caught up to speed and he was all about learning the offense. And we were able to put him in fairly quickly and start utilizing him. He's a talented player. The personnel department had their eye on him in New Orleans and give them all the credit for finding him and bringing him in. We're hoping that he can build with us and build with Kyler (Murray) and be a valuable target for us.”
Previously, Kingsbury compared Arnold’s situation to that of running back Kenyan Drake who came to the team with eight games remaining in the 2019 season.
“We threw him in there, similar to how KD got thrown in there when he got here last year,” Kingsbury said. “We didn't have time for them to have any sort of a growing process. We needed them to play at a high level immediately. And I thought both guys adapted well last year, and you just sense a much more comfortable player just having been through the virtual meetings, been through last year in the offense and now getting out here in an actual training camp. Both of them have a real comfort level within it and I think it's allowed them to play at a high level so far.”
Tight end teammate Maxx Williams is glad that Arnold is helping make the team better.
He said, “Bringing (him) in last year really helped give us confidence. And we're just trying to build on that this year in camp. Having Dan go through a whole camp to learn the offense, really the sky's the limit for him. Watching him, it's fun. He loves being out there. I love being out there with him. So we have a little thing going. That's fun. (He’s) getting comfortable with Kyler and showing the coaches that they should have confidence in him.”
Arnold is feeling it every day as he spends more time with Murray and understands the concepts of the offense, especially some of the checks players can do within the scheme.
He said, “This offense, it allows athletes to have a lot of free range getting open and finding green grass and I think that really helps in just working with Kyler on that level. After plays, you can say, ‘What were you seeing here? What do you think here?’ Just trying to work it out so we're both on the same page. Having training camp to do all that; it's gonna pay dividends once we get in the season.”