Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis watched practice earlier this week when his receivers were going one-on-one with defensive backs.
Rookie Anquan Boldin went up against safety Adrian Wilson in the drill and with two quick movements, Boldin buckled Wilson’s knees, going one way for the catch while Wilson could do nothing but watch.
“That’s why we wanted him,” McGinnis said. Boldin isn’t blessed with sonic speed. But his quickness has the Cards thinking they might have gotten a steal with the late second-round pick.
“That’s one of my strong points, one of reasons they have me in the slot,” Boldin said. “Whenever they need to move the sticks they usually come to me, so I can make somebody miss and get the first down.”
Boldin had just four catches for 44 yards in the preseason. But he has impressed coaches throughout training camp, and there was a sense the Cards scaled back his work in the exhibition games in part to hide their newfound gem. He will be a big part of the passing offense once the regular-season starts Sunday in Detroit.
“I don’t know if anybody outside of this organization is expecting me to do much,” Boldin said. “But I want to show what I am capable of doing. I think we have a pretty good package for me to do that.”
Boldin didn’t move to receiver until he got to college at Florida State. Up until then he had been a quarterback, but despite just four years of training (with one lost because of a knee injury), he should end up as one of the Cards’ top receivers as a rookie.
“It was a dream of mine,” Boldin said. “It’s something I hoped for and worked towards. Whenever you are depended on, it makes you work that much harder because you don’t want to let anyone down.”
THE NEW GUY
McGinnis said cornerback Emmanuel McDaniel, who has had just a week of practice, will be able to fill the third cornerback role just fine this weekend.
“That’s why we wanted a veteran in here,” McGinnis said. “All we had to get him was the concepts of what we were doing, get him used to the language. I have a lot of confidence in him.”
Tight end Freddie Jones is preparing for the season opener, but wife Miesha just finished her biggest event of the year. Miesha Jones, a world-class hurdler, finished third at the recent World Championships in France. She was not happy, even though her husband tried to tell her third in the world was impressive.
McGinnis then gave a try, and Jones said his wife was better after the talk.
“You know how he is, he had her hyped up to the fifth,” Jones said. “She seemed a whole lot more relaxed. It’s one thing for someone in the same household to say that. But when you’ve got a guy in that position of power, knowing that he knows about the sports world, it means a whole lot more.”
Cornerback Renaldo Hill, who is from Michigan and went to Michigan State, got his hands on 70 tickets for Sunday’s game.
“To be able to go back and play in front of your family, to play against the team you grew up watching, I’m looking forward to it,” Hill said. Hill is a starter with Duane Starks out for the season.
Long-snapper Nathan Hodel (shoulder) said he will be fine and able to play Sunday. The same can’t necessarily be said for backup safety Justin Lucas, who was cleared after suffering a concussion last week but then rolled his ankle in practice. He will be a game-time decision. Defensive tackle Marcus Bell (knee) is out.