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first_img 12 Comments   Share   – Wilks was happy with Monday’s practice and generally pleased with his club’s play overall so far. He still sees room for improvement though, even from his defense, which has allowed an average of just 16 points per game.“On the defensive side of the ball I think we’re still missing too many tackles,” he acknowledged. “Being aggressive is one thing, but [we need to be] making sure we’re under control.”– It’s no secret that defense is the new head coach’s specialty. And Wilks is particularly locked in when it comes to the secondary, where he sees a personality forming.“I’ve always had the mindset that the identity of your defense is based off, not your front seven, but how your secondary tackles,” he said. “And the physicality with that corner. A lot of corners in this league don’t want to tackle; that’s why they crack the safety or the linebacker and put David Johnson one-on-one with the corner. Our corners are going to tackle here.”– Wilks on Bene Benwikere’s impressive play so far this preseason: “The biggest thing with Bene is just he has a knack for the ball. Great vision, understands route concepts, very smart.”​ TEMPE, Ariz. — Much was made of how the offensive line struggled in the Arizona Cardinals’ preseason opener. Center Daniel Munyer couldn’t cleanly snap the ball to Josh Rosen, and as a whole the group had a hard time blocking for the quarterback once he dropped back to pass.To be fair, that wasn’t the first unit. The starting group of D.J. Humphries, Mike Iupati, Mason Cole, Justin Pugh and Andre Smith seemed just fine when they were out there. But they only got one series against the Chargers, so it was hard to draw too many conclusions. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires An injury to his right arm landed the veteran guard on injured reserve last season, limiting him to just one contest. And over his three years in Arizona, he’s missed 19 of a possible 48 regular season games. He’s optimistic that the silver lining to sitting last year is that it can pay off now though.“After taking that year off, it makes you appreciate football,” Iupati said. “Body feels good, everything feels good.”Many critics have pointed to Arizona’s o-line as a question mark, citing how much the unit stumbled in 2017. There may be something to that, and the fact that the five current starters played a combined six games for the Cardinals a year ago means it could take some time to find cohesion at a position where cohesion is mandatory.There’s plenty of talent up there too though, with four former first rounders in that five player group. And if the offensive line actually does prove to be a positive for Wilks, it would go a long way toward helping Arizona silence the skeptics.BALANCED ATTACKBradford is now a perfect 7-for-7 in two preseason games as a member of the Cardinals. And all seven of his passes have gone to seven different targets. They saw more time this past Friday in New Orleans, and head coach Steve Wilks sees his offseason belief that the line could be a strength for the offense being validated now.“I think they’ve proven that, the way they’ve performed in the first two games,” he said. “Particularly the ones coming off the ball and creating a new line of scrimmage. I think they’ve accepted the challenge and they’ve taken a lot of pride in that.”Related LinksA.Q. Shipley injury offers Cardinals C Evan Boehm a shot at redemptionFormer Cardinals RB Adrian Peterson signs with RedskinsUntrustworthy preseason at least presents hope for CardinalsThe loss of A.Q. Shipley in the middle obviously hurts, and it puts a lot of pressure on Cole, a rookie third-round pick, to step in and become the anchor between a bunch of vets. But Cole has looked decent so far.Meanwhile, Iupati looks completely rejuvenated after being sidelined for 15 games last season.“The man is playing about as good as anyone on our team is playing up front,” quarterback Sam Bradford said. “This camp, just watching him play, it’s been pretty impressive. Both in the run game and the pass game, he just seems to be swallowing guys up out there. As a quarterback, it gives you a lot of confidence knowing he’s playing at such a high level out there.” Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellingcenter_img Top Stories “It speaks a lot to Mike [McCoy’s] offense as well,” Bradford said of his offensive coordinator. “Just in the fact that the ball is going to get spread out all over the field. We’ve got different ways to get the ball to different positions. It’s not going to be narrowed down to one or two guys. It’s going to go everywhere and we’re going to force the defense to cover all five of our guys.”In the game against the Chargers, Bradford’s one attempt was complete to tight end Ricky Seals-Jones.Arizona wide receivers combined for just nine yards on two catches in that entire contest outside of a 48-yard toss from rookie quarterback Charles Kanoff to Jalen Tolliver in the fourth quarter.The Cardinals had more success through the air against the Saints on Friday with the wide receivers alone hauling in 15 receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown.EXTRA POINTS– Safety Tre Boston hasn’t committed to a jersey number just yet. He’s wearing No. 38, but he taped over the part of his locker where it shows his number with a sign that says simply “TBA”. He wants No. 33, which currently belongs to Chris Campbell. Arizona Cardinals offensive guard Mike Iupati (76) blocks defensive tackle Corey Peters, right, during an NFL football practice Monday, Aug. 13, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. 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