Cardinals First Round Rookie LB Showing ‘Growing Pains’

Getty Zaven Collins participates in an off-season workout.

It’s never bad for rookies to have growing pains in training camp, but the Arizona Cardinals rookie linebacker Zaven Collins is dealing with them so far.

While Andy Isabella made a sharp cut after the catch in practice today, it was to the dismay of the 16th overall pick.

Mind you, it was one play. But communication and understanding of calls are vital for the defensive operation. Collins had some trouble with that too.

GM Steve Keim Gave Collins Starting ILB Role Back in April

When Collins was drafted in April, many people expected Jordan Hicks to compete with Collins for the starting role.

That wasn’t the case.

Football’s a business and Hicks understands that.

Second-year linebacker Isaiah Simmons was in the same boat as Collins was last year. Simmons had growing pains, even during the season.

Their chemistry has blossomed, although Simmons admits he judged a book by its cover.

J.J. Watt knows the capabilities Simmons and Collins have.

“They are big, fast dudes,” Watt said on July 29. “Zaven a little too fast sometimes.”

Day Off For Most Veterans

DeAndre Hopkins and Chandler Jones were non-participants during practice on Thursday, joining A.J. Green, J.J. Watt and Jordan Phillips who also didn’t perform.

In the meantime, others receivers such as Andy Isabella and KeeSean Hamilton took their reps. Isabella had a really nice day.

There’s been speculation by some that the Cards will try to showcase Isabella’s ability for other teams.

Kingsbury seems to be writing off that theory.

As for Christian Kirk, he was out on the field for the first time this week but was limited. The Cards are going to ease him into things.

Zach Allen’s Third Year Expectations

Third-year defensive lineman Zach Allen joined the Doug & Wolf Show on 98.7 Arizona Sports. While most of the pressure falls on the other veterans, Allen knows what his goals are.

“The big thing I’ve been working is finishing,” said Allen. I think there were times where I was close but didn’t finish the play. We’re definitely reaping the benefits of the offseason. I’m taking it day by day. That’s helping me the most, staying consistent.”

There’s a difference between this year and last year. Kingsbury spoke about leadership and what needs to be done in order to win more this season on Cardinals Fight Plan. Allen knows the answer.

“We definitely have a different attitude,” said Allen. “A lot more focused. We understand the expectations. Especially on defense, we understand the amount of talent and what has happened the last couple of years.”

Having Watt next to you during training camp can be a lifesaver and Allen knows that.

“I want to pick his brain as much as I can. On the field, his resume speaks for itself. He’s a great addition to the locker room. He’s been awesome.”

As for the whole defense is concerned?

“Our defensive line is playing so well. It’s been a lot of fun to play with those guys. We’re going to have a really deep room. It’s been great so far. Zaven knows how to command.”

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