Cardinals rookie Isaiah Simmons not adjusting his goals amid coronavirus chaos

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- In normal, non-coronavirus times, Isaiah Simmons would've first come to Arizona on April 24, a day after he was drafted No. 8 overall by the Cardinals, to be introduced as the team's first-round draft pick.

Instead, the first time he set foot in the Cardinals' facility was on July 25 -- 92 days later -- as Arizona's rookies began their initial training camp experience.

But nothing about this year has been normal. Instead of working out at the team's headquarters for most of the offseason, Simmons had a personal trainer back home in Kansas. Instead of sitting in meetings, he learned the Cardinals' defense virtually -- that's in addition to learning everything it takes to be an NFL player via a computer screen.

"It's a lot different than college," he said. "So, just learning everything virtually opposed to being hands-on with everything, actually sitting in meetings and whatnot, is a little bit tougher, but at the same time everybody's in the same position."

With the elimination of the offseason program, Simmons -- and every other player in the NFL -- is just now getting on the field for the first time heading into the 2020 season. That means a lot of time has to be made up -- not an ideal situation for a rookie trying to transition to the NFL.

Yet Simmons is remaining steadfast in his outlook for this season -- which he said includes a run at rookie of the year -- regardless of the chaos going on around him in the world.

"No, I'm not gonna adjust my personal goals just because we're having a little adversity with this whole pandemic. So, it's either I'm going to achieve my goals or not at the end of the day.

"I don't feel like I should lower my expectations or my standards for myself just because there's a few obstacles in the road. So, I'm still pushing to be the best I can and make the biggest and best impact that I possibly can for this organization."

As of now, Simmons won't be playing the same all-everything role he had in college at Clemson. Instead, he's has been focusing solely on inside linebacker. Last season at Clemson, he played more than 120 snaps at inside linebacker, outside linebacker, slot cornerback and safety but Arizona has contained him to just one position for now.

"I think it's all just that's what my coaches want me to play," Simmons said. "Everybody's paid to do their job out here. So, I don't know if I'm necessarily needed to do everything that I had to do in college."

Simmons isn't entering his first season with the goal of changing his coaches' minds of playing him at just one spot. If, as the season goes on, he's asked to play other roles, he'll gladly do it but, for now, he's "100%" focused on inside linebacker.

More than a week after he entered the Cardinals' facility for the first time, Simmons took part in his first full-team walk-through, essentially kicking off his first NFL training camp. And it hasn't taken Simmons long to stand out.

"Isaiah has been impressive since we drafted him," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "In the meetings, his attention to detail, his retention with information, and then they don't make them much prettier when he walks in the building.

"So it'd be fun to get him out there and watch him watch him run around here soon."