Because the University of Washington runs on a quarter system that didn’t get out until June, new Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker was unable to take part in most of the team’s offseason program.
However, Baker feels he’s as prepared as he can be for the start of training camp given the circumstances.
In an interview with Bertrand Berry and Mike Jurecki on Arizona Sports 98.7-FM, Baker said he frequently spoke with Cardinals’ safeties coach Nick Rapone and watched as much film as he could from afar.
“For me, I always try to watch film, watch film of the practices,” Baker said. “So I feel like I’m not really that far behind.
“The only thing I haven’t done is really taken the reps with the whole team; the rookies have done seven-on-seven and all that type of stuff, so I’ve been able to run the plays consistently during seven-on-seven so now it’s just a matter of doing it at camp.”
Baker was able to participate in the team’s rookie mini-camp soon after the draft, but the rest of the offseason was pretty much a wash. The benefit is that Baker said the system he’s jumping into with the Cardinals is very similar to the defense he played in at Washington. The only significant change to Baker is some differing terminology.
Baker is looking forward to training camp and preseason games to give him the chance to learn on the field and show what he can do in the lead up to the regular season.
“So for these preseason games, I know the rookies get a lot of reps, so get as much reps as I can. I like to think of it as these preseason games are like my OTAs and mini-camp that I missed,” Baker said. “Just getting all these reps, taking as much reps as I can — whether it’s defense or special teams — and ultimately competing. That’s my goal.”