Long after most players had cleared the field after Monday’s practice — indeed, the University of Phoenix crew in charge of breaking down the field and rolling it back outside for the night were getting antsy — rookie tight end D.C. Jefferson and Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald were catching balls launched from a JUGS machine.
Fitz probably doesn’t need the extra work. Jefferson, the quarterback-turned-tight-end-in-college who has been hit-and-miss catching the ball, does. Fitzgerald saw Jefferson Monday, and decided to give him some pointers. Maybe it was just to be a good teammate and maybe it was Fitz remembering that Jefferson dropped a key pass in Friday’s game — something that can’t happen when games count.
“I normally stay out there and catch balls anyway,” said Jefferson, the Cardinals’ seventh-round draft pick. “I guess Larry saw me catching the ball, and he brought me to the side and showed me some extra drills to help me out.
“Anything from Fitzgerald is worth having. It is good to have his techniques and ways to be great.”
It’s been an up-and-down camp for Jefferson. He no question looks the part and his attitude is right. But he has struggled with mental errors at times and has dropped the ball too. Coach Bruce Arians also made a comment after the Packers game about Jefferson dropping a touchdown pass, but further review showed that Drew Stanton’s pass was off-target enough that Jefferson would have had a hard time pulling it in.
“I haven’t been perfect but I’m getting better every single day,” Jefferson said. “It’s coming along.”
Jefferson has been aided by a ton of reps, thanks to tight end injuries that have cleared the way for playing time. Whether that is enough to eventually get him a roster spot, or if he might be a practice squad candidate, well, that’s one good reason for Fitz to try and teach Jefferson what he can now. The job interview is ongoing.
“There’s pressure every day,” Jefferson said. “This is the NFL. Going against guys that are trying to kill you every day. You have to make your plays. There is definitely pressure. But it’s something I embrace.”
— Right guard Daryn Colledge (leg) basically practiced the whole way Monday and was dropped right back in with the first-unit offensive line. Paul Fanaika returned to the second unit.
— There were a couple of noteworthy catches. Fitzgerald made one in traffic between two defenders early in the practice. Patrick Peterson, helping double cover Fitz with Tyrann Mathieu later in the practice, made a pretty over-the-shoulder interception.
— The injured list included TE Jeff King (knee), TE Kory Sperry (ankle), LB Karlos Dansby (hamstring), RB Andre Ellington (concussion), RB Ryan Williams (knee), S Jonathon Amaya (knee), DT Dan Williams (ankle), DT Ricky Lumpkin (ankle) and LB Dan Giordano (PUP – toe.)
Tags: D.C. Jefferson, Daryn Colledge, Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu
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