GLENDALE, Ariz. — Week 1 is finally here for the Arizona Cardinals.
They said all the right things during training camp, and now it’s time to see if they can back them up.
The Cardinals were back to work on Monday after a league-wide mandatory four-day weekend, and their entire 53-man roster was on the practice field.
Week 1’s opener is no joke. The Cardinals travel to Tennessee on Sunday.
The Titans are used to going to the playoffs and have been there back-to-back years. Meanwhile, the Cardinals haven’t made the playoffs since 2015.
This is year three for head coach Kliff Kingsbury. His team finished 5-11 his first year and then finished 8-8 last season.
“It goes fast, ”Kingsbury said. “Last year was a unique year with everything we were dealing with. Excited to get back to having fans in the stadium. Year three for this offensive. [The offense] has really had a good year. Guys are more comfortable with it. They understand what we are trying to accomplish, so I’m excited to see if we can take that jump.”
It's early in the week, but the Titans already look like one of the toughest tests the Cardinals will face all season.
"Physical team. They have been really, really good the last few years," Kingsbury said. "Coach [Mike] Vrabel’s done a tremendous job building that culture and they fly around the football in all three phases.”
“They have one of the best running backs in the game [Derrick Henry], they just acquired one of the best receivers [Julio Jones], and their quarterback’s [Ryan Tannehill] been playing at a Pro Bowl level the last few years. It’s gonna be a huge challenge."
Titans running back Derrick Henry is known for being a tough tackle, and for making guys go viral or famous on YouTube for all the wrong reasons.
The opener is a true first test for the Cardinals' young linebackers in the middle. 2020 first-round pick Isaiah Simmons and 2021 first-round pick Zaven Collins, who was giving the starting job moments after they drafted him, are ready for the challenge.
“I like it,” said Simmons. “I like the test and I like the matchup. We’re going to see how well everyone fits in together.”
“I’m not playing scared or anything,” Simmons said when asked if he’s worried about ending up on a highlight reel or getting run over by Henry. “He does have that great stiff arm ability, but I just going out there just playing ball.”
BOUGHT HIS MOM A HOUSE
Cardinals rookie receiver Rondale Moore told us in training camp his welcome to the NFL moment was going to be buying his mom a home. This past weekend, he was finally able to surprise his mother with her new house back home in New Albany, Indiana.
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