GLENDALE, Ariz. – The biggest takeaway from the Cardinals’ first training camp at University of Phoenix Stadium may be this: There were no significant injuries. In fact, as the Cards prepare for Saturday’s preseason game against the Chargers, they are almost completely healthy.
Coach Bruce Arians said Thursday morning that tight end Jeff King (knee) and running back Ryan Williams (knee) would return to practice Thursday afternoon. Defensive end Frostee Rucker (toe) was limited, but wide receiver Andre Roberts is good to go against the Chargers after testing out his sore ankle in practice on Wednesday.
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Arians said King’s and Williams’ availability for Saturday would depend on how they did in the afternoon practice, but Williams told reporters after practice that he would play. King sounded relieved to be returning.
“It’s been absolutely miserable,” said King, who experienced swelling in his surgically repaired knee early in camp that has kept him sidelined. “I’ve tried to help and teach. I’ve seen a lot of football. At the same time, when you go back to your room and you think about and get up the next day and watch practice, it gets old. It gets old quick.”
Getting back on the field is imperative for both players if they want to make the team, but perhaps more so for Williams, who has missed all but five games of his first two NFL seasons with injuries and hasn’t played in a preseason game this year.
“He’s missed so much that I want to see him in practice before I put him in a game,” said Arians, before turning his thoughts to King. “He’s as anxious as anybody to get out there. He does have a resume and you can watch him on film but it helps all of us to see him still do it.”
King said there are no structural issues with his knee, so he is not concerned that there are things he can’t do. He’s also been in the league eight years, so he knows that roster spots are never guaranteed.
“That’s every camp. I felt that when I was a second-year guy, so it’s no different here,” he said. “Believe me, I know that time is ticking.”
The Cardinals most reduce their current roster of 87 players to 75 by Tuesday.
PETERSON’S INFLUENCE GROWS
Patrick Peterson said the offensive package he participates in is up to 60 plays.
“The thing that’s intriguing to me about the plays that I’m in there — I’m not going in there just to get the ball. I can be in there just as a decoy. I can be in there to take the top off of the coverages,” Peterson said. “I’m positive it will not take any play away from cornerback. I train extremely hard. I take pride in my conditioning, and I put my body through the worst in the offseason.
— Arians said he wants the starters to play the entire first half on Saturday and then come out of the locker room and play one series each on offense and defense. He also hopes the offense will get a two-minute drill before the half since last week’s effort against Dallas didn’t go according to plan.
— Depending on the opportunities they get, Dan Carpenter is expected to kick in the first half Saturday, with Jay Feely taking over in the second half. The Cardinals signed Carpenter on Wednesday to provide competition for Feely.
— Rookie Tyrann Mathieu will get a shot at punt returning duties on Saturday.