Nkemdiche rises to the ones “a lot now”

Posted by Darren Urban on August 10, 2017 – 2:01 pm

Robert Nkemdiche may not officially be a starter on the depth chart, but the way the Cardinals’ defensive line rotation is going to work, he’ll likely work as much as those on the field first. Coach Bruce Arians said he will likely dress six defensive linemen on game days this season, and it’ll be a rotation — probably moreso than when Pro Bowler Calais Campbell was there to eat up a lot of snaps. Nkemdiche, who has had a very good camp, is showing he should be near the front of the line.

“He’s playing with the ones a lot now,” Arians said Thursday.

Nkemdiche got a chance to take a rep against first-team guard Evan Boehm in one-on-ones Wednesday, and bested Boehm. Nkemdiche remains modest in how he talks about where he is as a player, but the head-down-full-speed approach has been working.

— Arians likes the improvement from all along the defensive line. One guy that seems to be an underrated lock to be in the rotation is Olsen Pierre, whom Arians continues to compliment.

— Two receivers, Chad Williams (shin splints) and John Brown (quad) are questionable to play Saturday. T D.J. Humphries (hamstring) is also a game-day decision, although Arians said if there is any question Saturday, he’ll sit.

— Arians said he’s looking for the wide receivers to get much better. “That’s the group that really needs to pick it up,” he said. Injuries have slowed the unit, but Arians had said Williams in particular had been disappointing before he was sidelined.

— Finally, a dose of Ironhead. Undrafted rookie safety Ironhead Gallon, besides having the best name on the team, had been impressing Arians. At least up until he hurt his knee in practice.

“He’s bright and tough,” Arians said. “He’s one-legged right now. He is finding a niche for himself.”

Arians said he actually coached the man Gallon is nicknamed after, one-time running back Ironhead Heyward. “It’s a lot smaller Ironhead,” Arians deadpanned.

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8 Responses to “Nkemdiche rises to the ones “a lot now””

  1. By JTDG on Aug 10, 2017 | Reply

    I know Darren, double edged sword, but you keep praising guys who are beating the same guy, Boehm.

    Not good news that Boehm keeps getting beat .

  2. By JTDG on Aug 10, 2017 | Reply


    Now you have wrote two straight blogs about Boehm getting beat, and the emergence of Will Holden, or even Cole Toner (who had a good HOF game), could we see a switch by the end of preseason?

    Yes, I know those guys aren’t playing guard but you want your 5 best out there.

  3. By Darren Urban on Aug 10, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Guard

    I doubt it, in large part because Toner and Holden haven’t faced anyone. Let’s see how Boehm does in a couple of games.

  4. By Amy M Hart on Aug 11, 2017 | Reply

    Any chance the Cardinals will sign Nick Mangold. He would improve our O. L. The guy can still play at a high level. Do you know how much he is looking for on a new contract. Thank You

  5. By Scott H on Aug 11, 2017 | Reply

    I try to not get too hung up on the depth chart, who is officially listed as a starter or not. But…..I think I will be truly disappointed come opening day if Nkemdiche is not starting at that time.

    I like what we are hearing about how he has looked so far.

  6. By Adam Smith b1723 fka DTL on Aug 11, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG – noticed that too. maybe this is how Boehm gets better, facing a superior DL? we’ll see, huh

  7. By sbrown on Aug 11, 2017 | Reply

    really don’t make a difference if Knemdiche is listed as a “starter”, the entire D line all rotates in and out.
    The measuring point will be total number of defensive snaps played.

    If that number is good, then he is making progress and getting the job done.

  8. By Scott H on Aug 12, 2017 | Reply

    sbrown –

    That is a good point. I get that. Yes, a starter is defined as a player who is on the field for the first play of the game. And Nkemdiche doesn’t have to do that to be a significant contributor this year. THAT, we do need. If he isn’t on the field for the first play of the first week of the season, so be it. I’ll deal with that.

    As long as he’s on the field for every play after that! 🙂

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