Keim: Abraham must get life in order to keep playing

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim, left, expects linebacker John Abraham, right, in training camp this week.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Cardinals general manager Steve Keim addressed the media after Wednesday afternoon’s training camp practice at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Here are some highlights:

— Keim said outside linebacker John Abraham, who was arrested on multiple counts including DUI on June 29 outside Atlanta, is expected in camp in the "very near future." When asked if that meant next week, Keim said "sooner than next week."

The Cardinals have one more day of camp practices scheduled on Thursday before they fly to Minnesota on Friday for Saturday’s preseason game against the Vikings. Abraham arrived in the Valley on Wednesday night and is expected to be at camp on Thursday.

Keim said Abraham will be treated like a player coming off an injury.

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"He’s got to work himself back into playing shape," Keim said. "Coming off 11.5 sacks at 35 years old, you’d like to think that he’s still going to be able to contribute. He’s just got to get his legs back underneath him."

When asked if the details of the arrest were a concern for the season ahead, Keim nodded.

"It’s always a concern when there’s off-field issues to deal with but at the same time it’s given him an opportunity to step back and look at the situation and realize that if he wants to continue playing football he’s got to get his life back in order," he said.

— A few national pundits have been raving about the performance of rookie quarterback Logan Thomas in Saturday’s preseason opener. Thomas went 11 for 12 for 113 yards, a TD and a passer rating of 133.7.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians tried to tap the brakes on that praise after the game when he noted that Thomas was given only plays he was comfortable with and he was playing against a base defense of third- and fourth-stringers that had not game-planned for Arizona.

Keim took a similar approach. 

"I’m going to always temper my enthusiasm on a rookie quarterback that’s played in his first game. I don’t want to get overly amped up. I’ve always been taught in this business never get too high and you never get too low, but it was exciting to see," Keim said. "Eleven out of 12 and to see the guy’s arm strength and his athleticism and that play at the end of the game when he was able to escape and some of the things he can do with his feet. 

"You guys have seen he’s got a rocket arm and the ball jumps out of his hand. That’s exactly what we saw at Virginia Tech and in his workout. The good news that I’ve seen is he’s starting to play with more poise and confidence which is the exact thing we’re looking for."

Keim acknowledged one of the goals right now is simply to build Thomas’ confidence, thus the simplified playbook.

"With a young quarterback you have to do that and then at the end of the day (you want to see) the command of the huddle," he said. "You think about so many things with these rookie quarterbacks. They’ve got to have the cadence, they’ve got to have the snap count, they have to have the play, they have to think about their hots and their audibles and then just to get the snap is a challenge for some of these guys. Then you talk about their progressions and their reads and their sights… that’s why it’s the toughest position to play.’

— Keim was asked which receivers are in a battle for the fifth and potentially sixth spots on the roster.

"You’re probably talking about Jaron (Brown), (Brittan) Golden and then (Walt) Powell," he said. "All three of them have had great camps. Whether we keep five or six, I expect that even beyond six there’s going to be one or two players that could potentially roster for another team."

— On the roster depth in Year 2 of his stewardship: "There’s always concerns. There are still a few spots where we’ll continue to look at the waiver wire and be active and try to look into some trade options but for the most part, particularly after we watched our game the other night, I felt extremely comfortable with both sides of the ball when we look at the second and third groups."

— On left guard Jonathan Cooper’s early camp struggles, coming off a season-ending broke leg suffered last preseason: "Any time you have a player who comes off a significant injury like that and struggles a little bit early, you have some concerns, but at the end of the day, knowing the player, knowing his toughness and his character and his smarts, I think at the end of the day he’s still going to turn out to be the player we thought. It’s just you’ve got to give the guy a little time to knock off the rust. Who better to do it against than (Houston’s) JJ Watt and Calais Campbell?

"It’s going to take several weeks. The guy hasn’t played a lot of football so you’ve got to give him his time. At the end of the day, too you have to assess who’s the alternative and how much better is he going to play than Coop? There’s a lot of factors that go into it.

On the secondary: "I feel great about the secondary. The addition of (Antonio) Cro(martie) gives us two big corners on the outside. As much pressure as we bring, you need two big corners on the outside who can play press and particularly press-man and be able to run behind it. If you don’t, those guys behind it are obviously going to get exposed."

On concerns at nose tackle: "Not from the depth standpoint but because of the injuries. Dan (Williams) has been a little banged up. (Ala)meda (Ta’amu) is also like Ty(ran Mathieu). He’s probably going to come back very soon (off the PUP list) and we’re going to have to ease him back into things, but all indications are right now, from a structural standpoint, he looks great. We’ve just got to get him into playing shape."

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