Arizona Cardinals offensive linemen Evan Boehm and Cole Toner talk after practice about moving to different positions and having to adjust at the Tempe facility, Tuesday, May 30, 2017. Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Bob McManaman of azcentral sports wraps up the Arizona Cardinals practice at their Tempe facility, Tuesday, May 30, 2017..
Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians talks about his team after practice Tuesday in Tempe. Video by Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Azcentral’s Kent Somers and Bob McManaman catch up during second week of OTAs at the Cardinals Training Facility.
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Coaches and players talk about the importance of head coach Bruce Arians’ family fundraiser at Top Golf in Gilbert. (Michael Chow/azcentral sports)
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How has free-agent QB Blaine Gabbert adjusted so far to the Arizona Cardinals? (Michael Chow/azcentral sports)
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss the NBA MVP, the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers and the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive backs.
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azcentral sports insiders Kent Somers and Bob McManaman react to the big news from the first day of Cardinals OTAs. Video: Rob Schumacher
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The NFLPA has released its 2017 Rising 50 list of players poised to break out and rank among next season’s top-sellers in officially licensed merchandise and the Cardinals running back is No. 1.
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Shot Clock: azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Kent Somers discuss the latest on Arizona Cardinals’ Carson Palmer and the NBA playoffs.
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Shot Clock: Colin Kaepernick is better than Blaine Gabbert, right? So why did the Cardinals not sign him? Also, Zack Greinke has his Randy Johnson moment … what does it mean for Diamondbacks?
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With camp starting tomorrow, players reported today and reporter Kent Somers lays out the future and what the team hopes for it.
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers gives some insight into the releasing of Daryl Washington and why it was probably best for both team and player.
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Cardinals draft picks had some time to sit down and answer some questions about their experiences and expectations of the future on Thursday.
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azcentral’s Kent Somers and Dan Bickley talk about the Cardinals decision to release linebacker Daryl Washington.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Bob McManaman weigh in on the Cardinals’ signing of Blaine Gabbert.
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers talks with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians about mini-camp, his excitement about undrafted rookies, LB Daryl Washington and QB Blaine Gabbert at Steak 44 on Wednesday. Michael Chow/azcentral sports
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers talks with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians about Arians’ annual fundraiser at Steak 44 on Wednesday. Michael Chow/azcentral sports
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss Daryl Washington possibly returning to the Cardinals and how James Harden can’t beat the Spurs by himself.
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The Arizona Cardinals announced Thursday that former St. Louis Cardinals QB Jim Hart would be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor this season.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Kent Somers discuss what to expect from the Cardinals’ 2017 NFL draft class.
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Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley assess the Arizona Cardinals’ selection of Haason Reddick in Round 1 of the NFL draft and discuss the needs the team still has to address.
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Check out how Cardinals fans were feeling during the team’s 2017 NFL draft party.
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers reacts to the introductory press conference for Haason Reddick and what the Cardinals might do next.
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With plenty of defense options on the table and all the quarterbacks gone, the Cardinals elected to go linebacker and Kent and Bob break down the reasons why.
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The Cardinals have made 18 picks in the first round of the NFL draft since 2000. Take a look at the standouts.
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With the 13th overall pick in this year’s draft, can the Cardinals afford to repeat their strategy with their last two first-round picks?
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Shot Clock: azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Kent Somers have the latest on the Cardinals draft and the reinstatement of Daryl Washington.
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The Cardinals are hosting draft parties Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at the Great Lawn outside of University of Phoenix Stadium.
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azcentral sports’ Kent Somers and Jay Dieffenbach discuss possible Cardinals strategy in the NFL draft, views on picking a quarterback and more.
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Bob McManaman ranks the top special teams players in the upcoming draft.
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Arizona Cardinals’ general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians have found some of their best players in the third round.
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Arizona Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald and Chandler Jones discuss the importance of giving back and some bets amongst Cardinals players before the Larry Fitzgerald Celebrity Softball Game on Saturday at Salt River Fields. Patrick Breen/azcentral sports
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Cardinals GM Steve Keim has a tough task when it comes to finding quality talent and character to add to the team through the draft.
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azcentral sports Cardinals insider Kent Somers talks with Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Fostee Rucker. || Video by Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Cardinals defensive tackle Frostee Rucker discusses learning from last year’s expectations and adding Karlos Dansby and other veterans. Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Breaking down the top three games of the Cardinals’ 2017 season.
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Shot Clock: azcentral sports’ Kent Somers and Bob McManaman discuss the Cardinals’ potential use (or overuse?) of running back David Johnson.
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Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is ready for the 2017 NFL schedule to be announced.
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Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim talk about the upcoming NFL draft. || David Kadlubowski/azcentral.com
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss Carmelo, a dancer, and the Cards’ quiet, classy young superstar.
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azcentral sports’ Kent Somers and the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald discuss Fitzgerald’s charity softball tournament on Saturday.
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The Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald joined azcentral sports’ Kent Somers to discuss the team and the upcoming season.
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Bob McManaman and Kent Somers at the NFL owners meetings on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Bruce Arianas likes full-time officials, centralized replay and says there’s 1 QB in upcoming draft who’s plug-and-play. Video: Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Coaches of the National Football Conference take questions from the media in Phoenix on March 29, 2017. Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers and other reporters talk with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians at the NFC coaches breakfast on Wednesday at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. Video by Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Cardinals linemen Boehm, Toner on position changes
Bob McManaman after Cardinals practice Tuesday, May 30
Bruce Arians on Carson Palmer, RBs, more
Kent and Bob talk new NFL rules and wide out depth
Arians Family Foundation Fundraiser at Top Golf
Report card on Cardinals QB Blaine Gabbert
Watch out for Dodgers; Cards CBs apply for job
What Deone Bucannon’s injury means for Cardinals
David Johnson No. 1 on NFL Players Association list
No throws for Cards QB, cheap shot in NBA?
Kaepernick blackballed? Greinke now trade bait?
Kent Somers talks Cardinals rookies
Kent Somers talks Daryl Washington departure
Cardinals rookies take to the microphone
Cardinals release linebacker Daryl Washington: Somers and Bickley discuss
Shot Clock: Gabbert a terrible fit for Cards
Somers sits down with Arians on Cardinals’ offseason
Bruce Arians talks about his annual fundraisers
Daryl Washington-Cardinals meeting: What happened?
Jim Hart to be inducted into Cardinals Ring of Honor
Shot Clock: Cards picks make instant impact?
Shot Clock: Tap brakes on Haason Reddick pick?
Sights and sounds from Cardinals draft party
Somers talks Reddick and possible 2nd and 3rd round picks
Kent Somers and Bob McManaman talk Cardinals draft of Haason Reddick
Cardinals’ top first round NFL draft picks since 2000
Can Cardinals afford to be patient with another first-round pick?
Cards face choices with draft, Daryl Washington
What to know about the Cardinals’ draft party
Shot Clock: Cardinals trade up for QB?
Top 5 special teams players of 2017 NFL draft
Keim, Arians striking gold in draft’s third round
Larry Fitzgerald, Chandler Jones talk about Celebrity Softball Game
Cardinals looking for ‘football character’ in NFL draft
Kent Somers talks with Cardinals DT Frostee Rucker
Cardinals DT Frostee Rucker on expectations, adding Karlos Dansby
Top 3 games in Cardinals schedule
Cards playing dangerous game with RB Johnson?
Bruce Arians wants to know date of London game
Keim on Cardinals’ NFL draft prep
Shot Clock: New face of Cardinals franchise?
Larry Fitzgerald holding 7th annual charity softball tournament
Larry Fitzgerald 1-on-1 with Kent Somers
NFL meetings in Phoenix: On Bruce Arians, new rules, the draft
NFC coaches take questions at NFL owners meeting
Kent Somers talks with Bruce Arians at NFC coaches breakfast
A wise man once said you can’t grow without change, but when it comes to the Cardinals, it appears they like it when their players change positions as often as they change their clothes.
They call it “position flexibility,” which they also will tell you is the new trend in the NFL.
Although that may be true, it seems a little odd that a team many still consider a Super Bowl contender has had as many as 16 players who have completed, or are in the process of, switching positions – one side to another or to an entirely different spot.
“It’s a more-you-can-do league, you know,” coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday as the Cardinals continued their third week of offseason team activities at their Tempe practice facility. “If you want to be on the roster, especially if you’re in the second 20 (on the overall depth chart), you better have a lot of flexibility. Especially if you want to dress on Sunday.”
It’s not just second- and third-stringers having been asked to switch jobs, however, to make them more palatable to a coaching staff looking for flexibility. Nearly one-fifth of the roster has or will be making some type of switch.
Jared Veldheer and D.J. Humphries are flip-flopping starting tackle spots. Backup center Evan Boehm is moving to starting right guard. Running back Andre Ellington is getting exclusive reps at wide receiver. Converted running back Brandon Williams is still learning how to play cornerback.
This year’s first-round draft pick, Haason Reddick, is being converted from a defensive end to a potential starting NFL inside linebacker, a position he’s played only once – in the Senior Bowl. Second-round pick Budda Baker, who played all five defensive back positions in college at Washington, likely will be called upon to play all five again here with no real designated, primary role.
Meanwhile, inside linebacker Alani Fua is being asked to learn how to play outside linebacker. Cornerback Harlan Miller, a rookie a year ago, has switched to safety. And Cole Toner, drafted a year ago out of Harvard as a tackle, is now a guard getting much of his work at center, which he’s never played before.
Doesn’t that feel just a little drastic for a team that went 13-3 a couple of seasons ago and advanced to the NFC title game?
“It might be, but at least up front for us I think we’re still pretty inexperienced, so the position switches for us, I mean, they’re going to be good for me, especially,” Toner said. “I get to play all three – guard, center, tackle – which will be great for me, great for my repertoire of skills and being able to come in for guys, I guess, as a backup.”
Boehm, a third-round pick out of Missouri a year ago, started every game at center his final three years in college. He never played the right side until late this past season. He was drafted under the assumption he would be Arizona’s center of the future, but that apparently has changed as well.
“I just need to get better every day. I said that on the field today,” Boehm said Tuesday. “I’m lucky to have a guy like Jared next to me, even though he’s changing, too. He still knows the offense, knows what we need to do, and if I have a question after the play, he lets me know.”
For Veldheer and Humphries, the transition should be smooth enough. For others such as Miller, the second-year pro out of tiny Southeastern Louisiana, it’s a process that could take time just as it has for Williams, and just as it did for Deone Bucannon, the safety-turned-inside linebacker who is sidelined following offseason ankle surgery.
“It’s basically like learning the defense all over again, so it has been a challenge,” Miller said. “But I’ve been picking it up pretty good so far. I’ve had a couple of mental errors, but not too many.”
Miller revealed that he’s been getting instructions on how to play both safety positions, which adds to his flexibility. Including cornerback, he feels he can now be counted upon at all three spots and that not only gives the Cardinals extra depth, it could prolong Miller’s professional career.
“Especially the start of a career,” he said, laughing.
Arians brushed off any discourse about so many players making so many changes, suggesting that a side-to-side positional change is “just muscle memory” and likening it to a simple repetitive task such as “going to the golf range and hittin’ balls.”
“But corner to safety,” he said, “that’s a little different. Harlan played some of it last year really well. He’s doing extremely well right now. Safeties that are nickels, they’ve been doing it their whole life.”
And what about Reddick and Baker?
“Well, Budda’s playing all the positions he plays whenever he gets here (after completing his college courses),” Arians said, “but Haason, he’s just a natural.”
Reddick said his eyes have already adjusted to his new position – and there could be times when the Cardinals line him up as a pass rusher on the edge or near the line as opposed to just manning the middle of the field. But the switch to inside linebacker, he said, “makes me have to think faster and have to know my job that much more.”
“Every day I’m getting better and better, working hard, and trying to make sure that if I’m starting on day one, that I’m ready to go on day one,” said Reddick, who likely will start if Bucannon isn’t ready when the season begins. “Rather than playing like a rookie, I want to be playing like a vet.”
Reach McManaman at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @azbobbymac and listen to him live every Wednesday night between 7-9 on Fox Sports 910-AM on The Freaks with Kenny and Crash.