GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Christian Tupou didn't feel comfortable answering questions about his unexpected ascent up the depth chart. He hasn't even made the team, he pointed out.
Whether the Cardinals' second-year defensive tackle feels like the attention is warranted or not, he was thrown into the spotlight when starting nose tackle Dan Williams left Sunday's practice with a swollen left knee. Williams is expected to miss Monday, as well, and with Alameda Ta'amu on the physically unable to perform list while he rehabs his repaired right knee, Tupou has been thrust onto the first team as its nose tackle.
"All I can do is give my best," Tupou said Monday morning. "I really don't know what I have to show specifically. I'll just give my best."
So far through camp, Tupou's best has been good enough.
But Tupou needs to put the humility aside for a few days. At stake is a spot on a 53-man roster. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said the opportunity to get reps with the first team allows Tupou to display what he can do.
"He's shown very well so far," Arians said. "That's another guy we want to see in pads. He's shown up. He's got everybody's attention."
It's been a long-time coming. Tupou was signed by the Chicago Bears out of Southern California as a free agent in 2013. He spent time in Chicago's training camp and on its practice squad before he was elevated to the 53-man roster last November. He spent about a month-and-a-half there and played five games, notching three tackles.
He spent the postseason and offseason bouncing around the league from Indianapolis to San Francisco to Arizona on May 16.
Tupou is just humbled to be in an NFL camp. He downplayed the opportunity he's been given and even thought he shouldn't even be talking to the media. And he's trying not to be starstruck when he looks to his right and sees Darnell Dockett in a three-point stance and Calais Campbell to his left.
"That's not what the game is about," Tupou said. "I'm just focused about being assignment perfect, doing my best."