On the seventh day, the pads went on, and the result was predictable Tuesday at State Farm Stadium.
Call it chippy, call it feisty, call it whatever you want. But the flow of Cardinals practice was halted several times when things got somewhat out of hand, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury let his players know the effect of stopping the rhythm of practice.
He told the media afterward, “Anytime you put the pads on, you expect some aggressiveness. (But) we can’t waste time like that at the end and waste reps. So we got to be better tomorrow.”
When asked whether he is a fan of fighting and whether some of it can be healthy, Kingsbury said, “Not a fan. I mean, at times, it’s hard to avoid. But I don’t like wasting the time or the reps. And you gotta call off practice. And then the young guys there at the end, don’t get their two-minute reps. So we just got to be more mature and be able to handle the competition.”
The comment about losing reps surely resonated with two of the team’s younger players that were available to the media: rookie tight end Trey McBride and second-year linebacker Zaven Collins.
They each repeated the mantra of Kingsbury’s message after practice.
“We lost a lot of reps at the end there,” Collins said. “Like they said at the end of the practice, there are guys trying to make the team, guys are wanting to put film up and we’re losing reps. And those are precious reps that we got to have right now because we’re limited to time. There’s only so many padded practices, so many days we can have camp.
“Next week we go to our first preseason game, and then ball’s rolling. We’ll be in Tennessee soon. And stuff’s gonna happen there. I mean, two NFL teams practicing each other in fall camp third week. So we got to cut that out, honestly.”
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McBride acknowledged that “sometimes it is good, but sometimes when it’s too much, it’s kind of like a waste of time and not getting anything done. So you got to kind of find that fine line between what’s good and what’s not. But today, I think there was just a lot of energy, guys were just eager to get back out there. And that’s kind of why it was a little chippy and things like that today, but I think going forward, it’ll be a little bit more smooth, and guys will just be there getting their work in.”
He added, “I think that’s what you’re gonna get with the first day of pads. Guys have been eager to get the pads on, guys have been eager to play real football, get the pads on and start hitting. So I think you’re gonna see that on the first day.”
Collins wants to also make sure to emphasize that while dustups get headlines, most of the practice was fine.
“It was good,” he said. “Guys were definitely a little chippy today. Because you throw pads on the first time, you start getting moved around, bumped around a little bit different. So guys start to lose their patience a little bit quicker. That’s what happened between a couple guys. But it was good today. It was good. Good padded practice today.”
Collins made sure to make light of the fact that “It’s not fighting. It’s just two guys. You got pads on from here up. What are you gonna do? That’s what it feels like when you hit someone. It’s just guys grabbing each other most of the time, it’s just guys grabbing and holding onto each other and just, (saying), ‘I’ll beat you up; no, I’ll beat you up.’ So that’s basically what it is. So it’s a waste of time. That’s why guys really get angry about it because you don’t really get much accomplished. This is a big huddle of guys grabbing on each other.
“The huddle right there at the end is no different than the huddle before a game. Guys just grabbing on each other.”
He revealed there’s a certain level of levity that occurs when there’s a scrum.
“Guys will play all the time,” Collins said. “And that’s most of the time what happens. Guys go in there just to like joke around with other guys. Someone will actually hit and you’re like, ‘What is going on?’ And he’s like sitting there smiling at you. So it’s just basically what happens, but no, we got to cut that out.”