After proving themselves to their coaches, the 53 men on the Cardinals roster now want to prove themselves to the rest of the league.

“Football is back,” safety Tre Boston said. “You could say that a couple of weeks ago, but it’s real ball now. So I just can’t wait. Ready to fly around, play fast, play physical and get W’s.”

The Cardinals’ first test will come Sunday against Washington, a team now led by quarterback Alex Smith. After stints in San Francisco and, most recently, Kansas City, Smith was traded to Washington in March.

“The guy is extremely athletic,” coach Steve Wilks said. “You saw some of the things that he was doing in Kansas City – the RPOs (run-pass options), the zone-read stuff. His ability to get outside the pocket, I think, is phenomenal. … So I’m sure they’re going to try and use him in the same way.”

Smith is coming off a year in which he threw for 4,042 yards and 26 touchdowns, both career highs.

“He’s not as conservative as people think he is,” said Boston, who played against Smith last season with the Chargers. 

Washington finished the preseason 1-3. Last season, they went 7-9, finishing third in the NFC East.

Offense runs through Johnson

While the Cardinals scout Washington, they’ll first focus on their own game plan. A lot of that will start with David Johnson.

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said early on in training camp that he expects the offense to revolve around the running back. Wilks didn’t disagree.

“I said that we want to run the football, and I believe right now, the strength is in our offensive line, and we want to continue to set the tone up front,” Wilks said.

“When there’s opportunities to be able to throw the football and go over the top, we want to make sure we’re giving the QB the time to do that. So, I wouldn’t question that at all. I think it does go through David.”

When told Wilks said it would be a run-first offense, left tackle D.J. Humphries immediately lit up. 

“He said that?” Humphries said. “That’s what it is then. That’s what it is. I’m with it, too. That’s it.”

Humphries said that Johnson is a “superstar,” but he’s excited about Chase Edmonds and T.J. Logan as well. Anytime the Cardinals can direct traffic on the ground is good news in his eyes.

Johnson’s exact usage will vary from game to game. 

“I don’t think you can really put a number on his touches,” Wilks said. “It’s all versatile and based off the looks that we’re getting and the rhythm of the game.”

Gresham, Golden still just ‘close’

In crafting the roster, tight end Jermaine Gresham and defensive end Markus Golden were both activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list. Still, it remains up in the air whether or not the two will play against Washington. 

“Well, it’s still ongoing,” Wilks said. “You look at practice (Monday), and Jermaine (Gresham) looked well. He was running around and catching the ball.”

Wilks knows that both players will need some more reps, but he’s not going to push it.

“Again, I don’t want to try and throw him out there too soon, him or Markus, to have a setback,” he said. “But, I think we’re moving in the right direction. So, it’s close.”

(Practice) squad up

On Monday, the Cardinals announced that they signed linebacker B.J. Bello (Cleveland), safety Demetrious Cox (Carolina) and cornerback Chris Jones (Detroit) to the practice squad.

They join seven Cardinals players who had been cut from the 53-man roster and then re-signed to the practice squad: offensive lineman Will House, defensive end Alec James, quarterback Charles Kanoff, fullback Elijhaa Penny, defensive tackle Pasoni Tasini, wire receiver Jalen Tolliver and tight end Andrew Vollert.