It was billed as “Back Together Saturday” and for the Cardinals, after some fans were in attendance for Friday morning’s practice, there were about 1,000 mostly maskless Red Sea denizens enjoying an afternoon at State Farm Stadium. Owner Michael Bidwill and head coach Kliff Kingsbury addressed the crowd before practice.
The Cardinals are still not in pads, but will be in the coming week and they were treated to cheer-inducing receptions by receivers A.J. Green and rookie Rondale Moore. Green had several catches on deep sideline balls from quarterback Kyler Murray, one of which was just over the hands of cornerback Malcolm Butler, who had good coverage.
Moore was all over the field and it didn’t matter who was throwing, whether it was Murray or backups Colt McCoy and Chris Streveler. Moore was also utilized as a punt and kickoff returner.
With three starting offensive linemen still on reserve/COVID-19 (left guard Justin Pugh, center Rodney Hudson and right tackle Kelvin Beachum), the first unit had Justin Murray, the starter at right guard for seven games last season, at left guard, Max Garcia at center and 2020 rookie Josh Jones at right tackle.
Entering camp, it was expected that Murray, Jones, Brian Winters and perhaps Garcia would be competing for the right-guard spot, and Winters has been there in the first four days of practice.
Earlier in the week, Kingsbury said, “Obviously you don't want to have three of your starting linemen out, ever. But to be able to get those guys, get their feet wet against the top competition defensively and really get some full reps with Kyler I think is gonna pay dividends down the road for us.”
With fans present, players had fun playing for the cameras. Linebacker Chandler Jones, to yells of, “Chandler, We Love You,” ran along the sideline waving his arm to get the crowd going. He and safety Budda Baker had fun on camera as it was projected on the Jumbotron.
At a break in team drills, linebacker Markus Golden walked to the sideline and exorted the crowd on his side of the field to cheer for the defense. He told fans, “We’re going to dominate this year.”
The fans clearly hope that is the case.