Hes got a ton of athletic ability He knows how

first_img“He’s got a ton of athletic ability. He knows how to get in and out of his breaks really well,” safety Tony Jefferson said. “I like him.”Added safety Tyrann Mathieu about Christian, “He’s versatile. He’s promising; got a lot of potential so I’m looking forward to seeing him in training camp.”And that will be the big test, not only for Christian but the other rookies as well as they get their first true taste of life in the NFL, in training camp, when the pads come on.Christian, though, has made the early transition from college almost seamless.“It’s been real great,” he said. “Starting off it was a whole lot at one time. During rookie mini-camp, they threw everything, all the plays at us at one time so there was a lot of information at first. But as time went by and the reps– with rookie mini-camp we got plenty of reps — and just weeks and weeks studying the playbook and having the coaches meetings. The rookie meetings really helped us adjust to the speed and the playbook.”Diving into the playbook was a new experience for Christian, taken in the fifth round with the 167th overall pick.School study has been replaced by football study, and a lot of it. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Christian was not invited to the combine, however.The Cardinals see the 5-foot-11, 196-pound Christian as someone who can come in right away and contribute, and not just on special teams.How much Christian plays defensively will depend greatly on how much more he develops, both in the classroom and on the field.“I always feel like I’m 100-percent ready. I came here ready. This is what I came to do,” he said.With Rashad Johnson gone — he signed a free-agent contract with Tennessee — and Mathieu questionable at best to being ready for training camp on time, Christian will be given his opportunities.The safety room is deep but between Mathieu, Jefferson, Chris Clemons, D.J. Swearinger and newcomer Tyvon Branch, as they made 23 combined starts last season, 14 of which belonged to Mathieu.Christian wants to be part of the Cardinals’ plans in 2016, and he knows there’s only one way for that to happen: continue to put in the work, even when he returns home to Houston, where he’ll allow himself a short summer break.“Just a week off when I get there, just to relax because it’s been a tumultuous few weeks with all the running and things,” Christian said, “so when I get home just take a week off to enjoy the family and everything, studying the playbook at the same time and then after that, really, really start training hard and get ready for camp.” Cardinals rookie Marqui Christian watches during mini-camp. (Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Top Stories Comments   Share   “The biggest adjustment to me was just the mental aspect,” he said. “I mean the physical aspect — all the guys are making plays, flat out. That wasn’t a problem getting out there and moving or nothing like that, the speed, but the mental aspect. Since we’re up here from 5 to 5, practice is only an hour-and-a-half so the rest of the time is all mental. Can you stay focused? It’s weight (work). It’s a plethora of meetings.“I feel like the mental aspect is the most challenging part when transitioning from college to the NFL.”The good news is Christian isn’t doing this alone.Defensive backs coach Nick Rapone is quick with an answer for every question, and the other safeties have been excellent mentors.“I’m just taking everything I can from the vets, guys like Ty,” Christian said.Over four seasons at Midwestern State, Christian appeared in 41 games and left as the school’s all-time leading tackler.As a senior, he totaled 95 tackles, three passes defensed, two tackles for loss, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles, numbers that earned him conference defensive player of the year and the Cliff Harris Award as the nation’s top small college defensive player. TEMPE, Ariz. — Summer vacation is on hold for safety Marqui Christian.He and the other Arizona Cardinals rookies — the roster lists 23 — remain in town this week and next for further study and work with strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris.“Getting stronger, getting faster, working out; going balls to the wall,” Christian said.Drafted out of Division II Midwestern State University, a small liberal arts college in Wichita Falls, TX, Christian made an immediate impression with the Cardinals in rookie mini-camp. He continued to catch the eyes of coaches and teammates during organized team activities plus the mandatory two-day mini-camp. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more