Simmons’ mental acuity has been long lauded, starting from the man himself. After playing multiple positions in college, Simmons was tested with a heavy intake from the playbook.
“I’ve kind of been prepped and prepared for this level and how much of a mental strain it’ll be,” Simmons said.
There are few specifics about what things Simmons will be doing on defense, not a surprise in a training camp in which the Cardinals are trying to keep what they are doing close to the vest. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph acknowledged Simmons is like many rookies, who can sound sharp in the meeting room and become “just OK” when first testing out plays on the field.
But, Joseph added, “he’s a very calm person so when things around him are high (tension), he doesn’t waver.”
Maybe the best part about Simmons at this point? A mistake might not be devastating on any particular play. Such is the benefit of a 6-foot-4 supreme athlete who acknowledged he can take a false step once in a while and use his physical tools to get back in the play.
“The athleticism can cover up a lot of things,” coach Kliff Kingsbury said with a chuckle. “If he’s not sure about a coverage or a drop or where he is supposed to be on a certain play, he’s so fast, so long and can cover ground so much that he can make up for it. That’s been the case at times.”
That’s OK with Simmons for now. Like Friday’s dress rehearsal of player intros, training camp has been about preparations that mean something but don’t count just yet.
“You use practice to find out what you can or can’t do,” Simmons said. “Being able to learn or build off those mistakes in practice is what it is all about — to learn and make it all come together.”
Reserve safety Kentrell Brice was carted off the field after suffering an apparent leg injury during Friday’s Red & White Practice. Kingsbury took a moment to say something to Brice on the cart before the veteran was taken to the locker room.
Running back Kenyan Drake did not practice, but he did jog around and was not in the boot he had previously worn.