FLAGSTAFF, AZ - AUGUST 16: The Arizona Cardinals practice during the team training camp at Coconino High School on August 16, 2011 in Flagstaff, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Cardinals Break Camp With Confidence

The Arizona Cardinals are in their final week of training camp in Flagstaff. They continue to evaluate players and prepare for the regular season.

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2011 NFL Training Camp: Cardinals Flee Flagstaff After Spirited Final Practice

The Arizona Cardinals finished their 2011 NFL Training Camp in Flagstaff with a spirited full practice in shells on Thursday morning. Players were clearly feeling the "last day of school" mentality but instead of reacting with distraction or disinterest the team turned up the intensity, and even fun, to another level. 

"I thought we'd have a lot of guys who already had their cars running, but they worked. The tempo was good and they paid attention to detail. That's a good sign which will hopefully show up Saturday night (in the preseason game versus the Chargers)," coach Ken Whisenhunt said.

The team went through a wide variety of scenarios from goal line, to punt coverage, to base defense versus a standard two tight end rushing package. The offense has a distinct advantage in these affairs given the limited amount of contact allowed and the "don't breadth on our quarterback" rules.

Even with those disadvantages, the secondary made several nice plays including yet another camp interception for Patrick Peterson. After returning the ball up the sideline with rookie fullback Anthony Sherman in pursuit, Sherman was overhead saying, "dang, he's fast." Yes, yes he is. And there was of course the obligatory great Larry Fitzgerald catch.

Whisenhunt was pleased overall with the way camp went. Obviously, there were challenges caused by the lack of normal offseason work which were compounded by the changes at quarterback and defensive coordinator.

The mood and confidence is high going into the 2011-12 NFL Season.

Injury report

Tight end Stephen Spach (calf) returned to practice for the first time while fellow TE, Rob Housler (groin) sat out again. Joining Housler today was rookie wide receiver DeMarco Sampson who tweaked a hamstring. Cornerback Mike Adams and quarterback John Skelton were also sidelined. Sampson and Housler will be evaluated again to determine if they can play on Saturday. Skelton (ankle) and Adams (knee) are considered unlikely by coach Whisenhunt.


NFL Roster Moves: Cardinals Sign QB Brodie Croyle, Waive Max Hall

As we very much suspected thanks to reporting done on Tuesday, the Arizona Cardinals have signed quarterback Brodie Croyle to replace Max Hall who was waived due to injury (shoulder). The Cardinals also signed punter Dave Zastudil and released tackle Jake Vermiglio.

Hall was unlikely to make the roster anyway, and now after suffering a shoulder dislocation in practice on Monday, it was a no-brainer to replace him on the roster with Croyle. John Skelton is still rehabbing an ankle sprain and is questionable for Saturday's preseason game against the Chargers

Even though starting QB Kevin Kolb is expected to play into the third quarter, the team needed a third active QB if Skelton can't go. Croyle is as good as any other option out there  given his five seasons NFL experience with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Croyle will wear jersey  no. 14 and Zastudil will wear no. 9.    

For more on the Cardinals, visit Revenge of the Birds.


Adrian Wilson Back And Ornery As Ever; All Rookies Doing Great

Adrian Wilson wasn't going to be kept down for long. He surprised everyone when he took the practice field on Tuesday afternoon wearing his No. 24 Arizona Cardinals practice jersey. Wilson was sidelined with a torn biceps tendon and was scheduled to be out for...well, no one really knew because A-Dub doesn't talk about injuries.

"It felt good to be back out just getting some rust off. We'll see where I'm at in September. Hopefully, there's no set-backs and everything is on the up-and-up," Wilson said after chiding the assembled reporters for not believing in him.

Getting back on the field, even if it was in a limited capacity that kept him out of full scrimmage, was important for Wilson. "For me mentally and for my guys as well," he said.

Asked if he had to be careful with how he used the arm, he responded, "I don't know what that means."

Rest of the team...

Overall, the Cardinals seemed to lack the pep and pop that was present early in training camp. A bit lethargic, they spent some time Tuesday on spread offense and nickle and dime coverage packages. They also ran a full two-minute drill that started out on the 30-yard line and quickly advanced to about the other 20 before the drive stalled with a false start that came from somewhere on the right side of the line (not Levi Brown) and was immediately followed by a sack.

Earlier in the day, coach Ken Whisenhunt said he was pleased with all of his rookies from the 2011 class. He felt that all of them have performed well so far and he can see all of them being good players in the NFL. Expect to see six-round pick LB Quan Sturdivant get even more opportunities in the next two preseason game. He's a bit buried behind a few vets and is still working on taking charge of the defense as a middle linebacker.

Another rookie who's looked very good so far is TE Rob Housler. Whisenhunt said again that Housler has shown a lot of flashes of talent but has work to do with his blocking. Housler left Tuesday's practice with an apparent upper leg injury. 

After making a catch during scrimmage, Housler pulled up immediately and went to the sideline. He was seen after practice ended on the cart with his left leg wrapped in ice. We'll have an update on his status Wednesday.

In other injury news, Ryan Williams had his surgery Tuesday morning. They also repaired a minor meniscus issue while fixing the torn patellar tendon. Whisenhunt reported no problems, but added wryly, "I don't know a doctor who's said a surgery hasn't gone well."

For more on the Cardinals, visit Revenge of the Birds.


Max Hall Injury Update: Shoulder Dislocation Initial Diagnosis

Max Hall left practice on Monday holding his left arm after he fell with his hand outstretched. Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt confirmed on Tuesday that Hall suffered a should subluxation which is typically defined as a temporary and partial dislocation of the joint.

Hall suffered a similar injury in 2010 during a game against the St. Louis Rams. Hall was placed on the injured reserve as a result of that injury and didn't play again that season. According to Whisenhunt, Hall will return to Phoenix for further evaluation by the team's medical staff.

Hall had fallen to fourth place in the quarterback depth chart behind Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Richard Bartell so the loss isn't considered a serious blow to the team. Skelton is also currently sidelined from practice with an ankle sprain. His status for the preseason game Saturday against San Diego is questionable.

To avoid going into the game with only two active quarterbacks, Whisenhunt said the team is exploring options to bring in a QB. He would not confirm a previous report that Brodie Croyle would be that guy.

For more on the Cardinals, visit the Revenge of the Birds blog.


Cardinals To Sign QB Brodie Croyle, Report Says

The Arizona Cardinals quarterback core took a couple of hits recently. John Skelton was in a walking boot at practice Monday with a sprained ankle suffered in Friday's preseason game in Green Bay. Max Hall was seen leaving the field holding his arm in an awkward position and has an apparent left shoulder injury. In response, the Cardinals will sign former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, Brodie Croyle according to a report from Arizona Republic's Kent Somers.

It would seem at least one of those injuries, most likely Hall, is serious enough to require a replacement for the last part of training camp. We expect official word soon and a full update on Hall's and Skelton's status at coach Ken Whisenhunt's mid-day press briefing.

Croyle, 28, had been with the Chiefs since 2006 and played in 18 total games. He has a total 1,660 yards with a completion percent of 57 percent. 


Arizona Cardinals Hit The Field; RB Alfonso Smith Discusses Opportunity

The Arizona Cardinals returned to the practice field on Monday for a fairly quick session that started around 4:00 p.m. and ended after about 90 minutes. The focus seemed to be on two-minute drill, high-tempo offense as well as blitz reads and hot routes. Both Kevin Kolb and Rich Bartel seemed to complete many nice passes with pressure coming. Larry Fitzgerald had at least three note-worthy catches, but by now that's not really news.

The injury bug seems to have struck the quarter back position with John Skelton in a walking boot for his ankle sprain suffered in the Green Bay game and Max Hall leaving the field with an apparent shoulder injury suffered after a fall. Details on Hall's status will be available on Tuesday.

Alfonso Smith ready for the opportunity

With rookie running back Ryan Williams down for the season, the spotlight now falls on undrafted free agent Alfonso Smith. Smith was with the team in camp last summer and on the practice squad during the season.

Smith said that he's been in this position before both in high school and college so he knows what it's like to take over for an injury player ahead of him in the depth chart. In college however, he felt he didn't take advantage of the situation and as a result didn't get enough carries and therefore wasn't drafted. 

Alfonso has no intention of letting that happen again, "This is a dream come true. I'm going to come out here and work because this is for me, this is definitely for my family and my future so I've got to seize the opportunity."

Smith says he's improved since last year and has a better grasp of the offense and knows the playbook which allows him to play faster. He's done well in pass protection which is important and he's very focused on making each play count. 

He described himself as a "straight line and speed guy" who's trying to become more shifty and a better all around back.

It's clear from coach Ken Whisenhunt's comments that Smith is going to get plenty of opportunities to prove he's capable of playing behind Beanie Wells. As Smith said, it's up to him to make the most of this chance.

For more on the Cardinals, visit Revenge of the Birds.


Arizona Cardinals Plan For Final Week Of Training Camp; Roster Moves Announced

The Arizona Cardinals are back in Flagstaff for their final four days of training camp. With two more preseason games on the schedule, both at home, head coach Ken Whisenhunt said he's, "Ready to get back to work. Ready to play at home."

The plan for this week is to install more of the regular season packages and blitzes. These won't be used in preseason, but it's helpful to work on them now so when they are addressed during the regular season for specific games they will be familiar to the team.

What the Cardinals won't do this week is scheme for the San Diego Chargers, their Week 3 preseason opponent. According to Whisenhunt, there's not enough tape on them anyway and he likes having the team react to things they haven't covered in practice. It happens during the regular season no matter how much game prep goes on. Consider it practicing for the unexpected that you haven't practiced for.

Typically, the third NFL preseason game is treated most like a real game. Starters play longer, often into the second half, and the teams use the game as a dress rehearsal that's still far enough from Week 1 to recover from any non-serious injuries to key personnel.

Whisenhunt said he will probably follow that plan and play some of this starters into the third quarter but not in all cases. For example, don't expect veteran OLBs Joey Porter and Clark Haggans to play as much. This gives the team to further evaluate young players O'Brien Schofield and rookie Sam Acho.

Schofield played well in the Green Bay preseason game and is making progress learning the defense. Most of what he needs to improve on is the mental part of the game. Whisenhunt wants him replicate that good performance and see if he can do it against first-team opposition.

Larry Fitzgerald contract

It goes without saying that both Ken Whisenhunt and Kevin Kolb were happy to see Larry Fitzgerald sign a long-term deal. Whisenhunt gave all the credit to team president, Michael Bidwill.

"There's a lot of teams that would have liked to have had an opportunity at him and they didn't get it because our ownership stepped up."

Kolb said he'd been nudging Fitzgerald to sign the deal for the last week or so. He's excited to have the opportunity to throw uncatchable balls to Fitz and have them turned into receptions for many years to come.

Running Back

Ryan Williams surgery is scheduled for early this week and the team feels for him as a person and for the loss of his talent. But it's football so they are moving on.

There's no sense of panic to get a replacement for Williams but, Whisenhunt said, "We're always going to look for an opportunity to address that and if somebody comes available that's going to help our team, which next week is when is when some of that situation may happen, then we'll address it."

Third string running back Alfonso Smith has worked hard for year and a half, and the team wants to see how he handles the opportunity to step into a bigger role.

As expected, the Cardinals did sign a young player to help with the reps in camp. Undrafted rookie free agent running back William Powell was brought back to the team. He had been released on August 2. Powell played two seasons at Kansas State.

Whisenhunt was happy with how Beanie Wells ran during the Green Bay game. He wants to see him get even lower and to accelerate when he makes contact. Wells did better in protection but missed one assignment. His coach was pleased that after he missed the blocking assignment, he was immediately asking about it on the sidelines wanting to get better. Overall, Wells is doing very...well.

Other roster moves

The Cardinals brought back defensive end Kenny Iwebema who played seven games with the team last year before hurting his knee. They also brought in cornerback Thad Thurner. To make room on the roster, the Cardinals released cornerback Desia Dunn and punter Derek Epperson.

The Cardinals practice at 3:00 p.m. Monday at NAU.


Kevin Kolb Learning Spanish, Whisenhunt Explains

At the risk of sparking some kind of political debate about immigration and the English language, Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt explained the process for quarterback Kevin Kolb to learn the grammar of his new offensive system. Some might find the explanation given at a mid-day training camp press conference offensive. We found it clever and humorous. In the interest of meta world peace, we hope you'll see it this way too.

azcentral.com blogs - Kent Somers - Learning the language
"I can only associate it with speaking another language. If you speak English and you're trying to speak Spanish, at some point in the process you'll start to hear it in Spanish and think of it in Spanish. How long that takes, you don't know."

How long does it take a quarterback from Texas who spent his early NFL years in Philadelphia to learn "Spanish" once he crosses the Arizona border? We'll let you know when the process is over.

In the mean time, language lessons at Northern Arizona University continue. Fortunately for Master Kolb, the immigrant has a new friend to guide and mentor him through class.

Word From the Birds Blog
He joked that he’ll be watching video with Larry Fitzgerald and suggest running a "pirate" route on a certain look — except it was the Eagles who used the "pirate" and not the Cards, who call it an "under." "The only way to do it is to be thrown in the fire and hear other guys talking about it," Kolb said.

To translate this all for football fans we would only say -- be patient. It's an adjustment period for Kolb. Don't overreact to anything you see Friday night in Green Bay (unless it's an awesome play like this).


Arizona Cardinals Training Camp: Round Up The Kids, It's Party Time

The Arizona Cardinals are in the "dog days" of summer training camp. They've spent a couple of weeks now hitting each other and living in the NAU dorms but they don't seem the slightest bit sluggish from all accounts. Instead we are hearing very positive things about the intensity and the way this team seems to have a chip on their shoulder. 

The Cardinals held a morning walk-thru at NAU and will have a public scrimmage Tuesday evening at Coconino High School at 7:00 p.m. One more practice this week on Wednesday afternoon at NAU (3:00 p.m.) before the team heads off to face the defending Super Bowl champs for a preseason game at Lambeau Field. 

This week the big news, if you can call it that, is the national media finally catching on to what we here already knew about Larry Fitzgerald's contract.

Surprise! (Not Really) Larry Fitzgerald Will Not Have Franchise Tag - Revenge of the Birds
Of course, for a great deal of Cardinals fans, this was not new. It was a detail about his contract that was made known to the Phoenix area when the last deal in 2008 was in place. 

Deuce Lutui has been held out of a couple of practices to get extra conditioning (and weight loss?) work in.

Deuce Lutui's Weight Still An Issue - Revenge of the Birds
On Monday, it looked like Deuce is going to have a struggle to regain his starting role. He did not practice with the team, as he was doing conditioning work with coach John Lott. 

Former Packer Daryn Colledge seemed a bit miffed at not getting an invite to the White House with the rest of his former team.

Green Bay Packers Snub New Cardinal Daryn Colledge For White House Visit - Revenge of the Birds
"It's a disappointing fact that they didn't even call guys that helped win to see if they wanted to join them. They said it was a logistics thing, but I believe I had the day off."

And finally, we've gotten a good look at the cap situation. The Cardinals have a ton of room but aren't required to spend up to the cap as they will be in 2013. For now, they can save their money and take advantage if a team needs to dump salary, if someone good shows up on the waiver wire, or to use in a front-loaded new contract for Fitz that saves cap space in future years.

An intersting side note here about Kolb's contract as detailed in this chart by Kent Somers in the AZ Republic.

Taking A Look At The Salary Situation For The Arizona Cardinals - Revenge of the Birds
But with a $3 million base salary over the next two seasons, Kolb's deal is not as loaded as I once thought. It is heavy towards the back end and if he is not playing at a high level, the Cardinals would have only paid out a large signing bonus ($10 million) and the base salary. This is good news for those still skeptical of Kevin's abilities. 

Oh, and that headline about the kids and the party? Don't really have an answer for that. It just seemed like fun and camp is fun so there you go.


Arizona Cardinals Training Camp: In The Great Outdoors Again

Light rain on Monday made for some muddy conditions and plenty of puddles around the NAU campus, but Cardinals practice went on outdoors, allowing a good crowd to watch and cheer and say ooh and ah.

The fans were kept out of Sunday's practice when it was moved indoors. Considering what would happen later in the afternoon, a loud thunder clap seemed to be some kind of foreshadowing although the rain somehow stayed away.


OL Deuce Lutui left with a staff member after stretching and did his early work by himself, running with weights and doing other cardio-type exercises, presumably to lose more weight.

WR Andre Roberts made a nice grab after slipping on the grass but reaching up from a sitting position for the catch.

WR DeMarco Sampson brought in a deep pass and ran it in for a touchdown, but on the very next play RB Ryan Williams dropped a short pass in the open field.

DT Darnell Dockett won a one-on-one battle with guard Rex Hadnot, sending the veteran to the grass in a heap.

Then came the real fireworks. OT Jason Speredon and DE Jeremy Navarre got into a pretty serious fight during team drills. Both grabbed each other's face masks and threw punches under them before finally being separated.

Practice ended with a two-minute drill. That's Kevin Kolb in the photo below dropping back to pass. 


And of course, the customary rookie carrying a veteran's pads off the field.



Afternoon Briefing With Coach Whisenhunt: Talking Defense

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt was asked a pretty legit question about what fans can see in Ray Horton's defense that was different from defenses prior to his arrival. 

Whisenhunt started the basics. "Well if we could stop somebody, that would be a good start," he said. "That's something that we've got to get better at, obviously. I don't know if on the surface you can be able to put your finger on something that would be different. The biggest issue that we had last year was we weren't on the same page as a defense. We weren't playing together."

That said, the goal is better team defense for the Cards, who finished 29th in the NFL in total defense last season. Enter Horton (below right), who is out to improve things as defensive coordinator.


"A lot of teams can generate that from pressure, from bringing extra guys," Whisenhunt said of how to get a good pass rush. "Other teams can generate it by winning one-on-one matchups. We've got to have a combination of both."

More from Whisenhunt before Monday's practice, which was in jeopardy of being moved indoors again when rain began falling around 1:30 p.m.:

-He's excited about the leadership he's getting from veteran players. But... "let's not color our judgment for last year based on a 5-11 season... When we get to the season, if we win football games, that's the only thing that matters."

-Adrian Wilson and Michael Adams are progressing in injury rehab. There is no timetable, Whisenhunt said. "There haven't been any setbacks and that's always a good sign." 

-WR Max Komar is expected back to practice today.

-TE  Todd Heap's thumb is still sore. "If he'd catch the ball the first time, then maybe he wouldn't have jammed his thumb," Whisenhunt said, drawing laughs. "It's just working through the soreness."

-Asked about Darnell Dockett and his proposed singing career, Whisenhunt said he didn't know Dockett could sing. "If he says he can sing, I'll be excited to see him on 'Idol" or 'The Voice' or any of those things."


Tempo Is The Order Of The Day Indoors At Cardinals Practice

     FLAGSTAFF -- Thunder and lightning and pouring rain moved Cardinals practice indoors within the confines of the Walkup Skydome at NAU Sunday, and both footballs and players were flying around.

Too bad for the fans, who can’t go into the dome when the weather forces practice off the outdoor fields.

So we’ll try to give you a snapshot of what happened:

1. Larry Fitzgerald sets the tone. He runs out catches as far as the end zone in front of him, and defenders have to chase until each of them that was in pursuit of Fitz taps him on the jersey or pads so that it is known that they hustled after a play the way No. 11 did.

2. A couple of scuffles broke out in Sunday’s practice, one in which the Cardinals were out to correct some mistakes from the Oakland game. It’s clear that competition for jobs is going to become more fierce, because there are only two preseason games left for most guys to make their case to be on the 53-man team. One tiff involved LB Paris Lenon, who is on the No. 1 defense, and Fitzgerald excitedly jumped on top of the combatants while others were trying to separate players.

3. Kevin Kolb hit Fitz for a long TD pass, Fitz beating Greg Toler in one-on-one coverage.

4. RB Ryan Williams put a move on CB Bryan Nnabuife that had to be seen to be believed. Williams shifted his hips on a run and left Nnabuife in his wake, which drew plenty of catcalls from teammates watching.

“He’s done something spectacular in practice every time he touches the ball,” Fitzgerald said of Williams, the second-round pick from Virginia Tech this year. “He’s going to help us tremendously, a nice change-up to Beanie.”

5. Current No, 2 QB John Skelton threw two picks, one to Matt Ware and one to Patrick Peterson.

6. RB Beanie Wells made a very sharp one-handed grab of a short pass in traffic.

“Coach gave us two days off, that’s unheard of in the NFL,” Fitzgerald said. “The best way to show Coach that we appreciate that is come out and work hard for him. I think guys understood that. They knew that we needed to come up here and give it our best and I think we did that.”


Arizona Cardinals First Depth Chart Holds A Couple Of Shockers

The Arizona Cardinals released their first official depth chart of the 2011 NFL season. Before we tell you all the shocking and surprising things it holds, let us remind everyone who little this chart means.

First off, it's the first one. In other words, it's to early to freak out that Early Doucet is the number three receiver and not number two. Next off, it's early and as coach Ken Whisenhunt likes to say, there's competition at every position (although he did concede that Larry Fitzgerald is probably secure in his role).

"When you go 5-11 you shouldn't be comfortable (with your spot)," Whiz said on Tuesday.

We certainly are not comfortable with our spot and by the looks of this depth chart there's some players who shouldn't be as well. Take, for example, O'Brien Schofiel who came to camp with a new hair do but is on the bench behind veteran Joey Porter who had a horrible season in 2010.

Another big surprise that can't be blamed on 2010 is ILB Stewart Bradley who is listed behind Paris Lenon. Bradley was one of the bigger free agent signings in the offseason and perhaps is being given more time before sliding into the starting role.

Revenge of the Birds thinks that's all part of Whisenhunt's Grand Plan:

Arizona Cardinals Depth Chart Out: Whisenhunt Philosophy Intact - Revenge of the Birds
If there is one trend to be noticed, it is the philosophy that Ken Whisenhunt and his coaching staff believe when it comes to the depth chart -- with rare exception, no one is given a starting job. It must be earned.

Other examples there include free agent acquisitions CB Richard Marshall on the third string and WR Chansi Stuckey buried with the fourth string. It should also be noted that those guys only took the field for the first time on Thursday. We'll see if they don't move up over the next few weeks.


Arizona Cardinals Prep For Oakland Preseason Game, Winning Is 'Important For Us'

Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Arizona time we will get our first look at the 2011 Arizona Cardinals in live NFL action. Preseason games in the NFL take on more meaning than other sports, but then again, everything in the NFL's compressed schedule and heightened media (and fan) environment is more important than other sports. And for Cardinals Ken Whisenhunt, even winning this exhibition game matters.

"It will be a great chance for us to play together as a team and obviously we want to win the game because that's important for us. We're going to try and put our guys in the best position," Whisenhunt said on Monday.

Winning might be important, but game prep for this first preseason game is anything but normal.

Not only have the Raiders changed much of what they do with the addition of a new coach and many new players, the Cardinals are very much focused on their own situation. Without a mini-camp and OTAs to learn how to play with new quarterback Kevin Kolb and new defensive coordinator Ray Horton, the team is playing catch up.

Whisenhunt explains the plan, "We'll refine it, cut it down and give our players a list of the things that we're going to run in the game and work on those in practice over the next couple of days so that when we play Thursday night we'll be able to play fast and be able to adjust to whatever different looks."

The coach says he's excited to see what the team can do but acknowledges it "won't be perfect". 

For more on the Arizona Cardinals, visit Revenge of the Birds.


Adrian Wilson Rehabbing Torn Biceps Tendon, Team Will Move On Without Him

Arizona Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson is not a guy who is going to accept being injured and missing time with a shrug. Wilson is as tough as they come and so it's no surprise when his coach, Ken Whisenhunt, said he's already working hard on his rehab to get back as quickly as possible from a torn biceps tendon injury.

Whisenhunt said the injury occurred early in practice on Saturday when Wilson extended his arm when he tried to make a tackle on running back Beanie Wells.

There's no official timeline set for his return but Wilson is expected to play this season. Whisenhunt repeatedly said it would depend on how the injury responded to treatment and while early signs are positive, it's too soon to say.

"I know this, my number one concern is the health of Adrian. I know he's a very tough player and he'd go out there with one arm if he could. So, we obviously have to make sure his body is healing correctly before we allow him to play," Whisenhunt added.

The Cardinals re-signed safety Matt Ware who, along with Rashad Johnson, will step into Wilson's slot. Johnson is a third-year player out of Alabama drafted by the Cardinals in the third round in 2009. Ware is an eight-year NFL vet who played 14 games with the Cardinals last season. He had eight tackles and three special teams stops.

Whisenhunt said his team will need to simply pick up the slack and move on, "That's football. That happens in the game."

For more on the Arizona Cardinals, visit Revenge of the Birds.


Arizona Cardinals First 'Real' Practice With Kevin Kolb: Intense, Rusty, Winded

By all measures and accounts, Thursday afternoon was the first real practice day for the Arizona Cardinals in their 2011 NFL training camp. It was the first time the entire team was eligible to take the field with the addition of 24 veteran free agents who had to wait on the sidelines all week for the CBA to be finally and fully ratified.

From starting quarterback Kevin Kolb to punter Ben Graham, this was the beginning and the players knew it with Kolb reporting even team veterans having butterflies before practice.

"Obviously, there was something different in the air," Kolb said after practice ended.

He, like other players we spoke to, reported rust and a lot of work to be done. He also said things got progressively better as the day went on.

While the precise execution might not have been there, Kolb was pleased with the improvisational skills he saw from both himself and his receivers.

"Our better plays today were instinctive plays where I'm not thinking too much. I'm not worried too much about protection and you just go back to playing. That's the stuff you're always afraid you're going to lose...A lot of plays today where we were just playing ball. When you see that going on you know that when a play breaks down we can make some big ones."

Kolb had his first chance to see Larry Fitzgerald make a spectacular play on one of his passes. During a one-on-one drill, Kolb lobbed a ball up to a well-covered Fitz who made a fantastic one-handed grab, "He's special..I feel like he's one of those guys out there I can just chunk it up to him. That's a nice security blanket to have."

The offense overall kicked the defense in the teeth. The practice ended with a goal line stance drill with the two sides lined up against each other on the one-yard line. Pads were popping. 

On the first play, Kolb and Beanie Wells missed the exchange on a handoff. Fumble.

From there both the first team offense led by Kolb and then the second team led by John Skelton scored multiple times without being stopped. Kolb made one completion to the tight end but the other plays were straight forward power football with runs by both Wells and rookie Ryan Williams.

Even defensive coordinator Ray Horton admitted that his unit got whooped.

"Offense was outstanding today. You know something, I'm happy for our offense because the more points they score the more we win," Horton said tactfully. But he's not satisfied at all, "We better have an edge (next time) and some meanness and some nastiness."

It was a very intense practice as well with at least two skirmishes between offensive and defensive players.

It's nothing to worry about according to newly acquired inside linebacker, Stewart Bradley, "That's good. I think that you have to have a little bit of aggression in camp or it's no fun. We're all competitive people out here so have an outlet for that. Push and shoving, everyone's still friends at the end of the day."

Several players reported being winded after the intense high-altitude workout. "Football shape is not the same as being in shape," was a common refrain.

Big Deuce Lutui, who stood out on the goal line as a beast on the offensive line, was still catching his breadth when he told us how he's feeling about the team, "It's just improved scale of football and the talent we have for this team. I think we're going to see everybody getting better and do better than last year."

The Cardinals will be back at it on Friday and then Saturday at 11:35 to 1:20 is the Red and White practice. It's schedule for the outdoor fields at NAU, but could be moved into the Skydome if the weather is bad. Unfortunately, due to construction this year, the Skydome isn't open to the public, so pray for good weather.

From 10:45 to 11:10 am there will be an autograph session for kids under the age of 12. Because of time limitations, there will be a one item per child limit and no posed photos will be permitted. Gates for the autograph session will open at 9:45 a.m. and a specified number of people will be then allowed to start lining up in the player lines. Arrive early if you plan on attending this. Big crowds are expected.

For more on the Cardinals, check out Revenge of the Birds.


Cardinals Prepare For 24 Vets Joining Practice; Patrick Peterson Joins Return Game

And it's on -- the CBA has been fully and officially and finally ratified by the NFL Players Association and 24 Arizona Cardinals veteran free agents are now cleared to join their first full practice with the team on Thursday afternoon. Kevin Kolb will take the field and while fan expectations couldn't be higher, head coach Ken Whisenhunt is trying to keep things in perspective. The real hype (and almost equally good news) is that dynamic rookie Patrick Peterson will, in fact, join the return game.

"You expect him to make some plays, obviously, but we'll see how it goes," Whisenhunt said about his quarterback. 

The only goal for this first practice is to see how much of an understanding he has with the plays and have him control the team in and out of huddles. Whisenhunt expects mistakes and says it will be ugly at times but it's all part of the process.

The team will conduct live goal line drills at the end of practice and with 24 veterans on the field of the first time we can expect the first team to get more reps than normal in an attempt to get caught up.

Peterson Punt Game

Patrick Peterson, who recently said he'd love to return punts or kicks if given the chance, obviously made an impression on his coach Wednesday when he got his first change to field some punts in a drill.

"We'll integrate Patrick in there," Whisenhunt said. "He looks like a natural...it's pretty surprising to see how smooth he is...When you have a guy that's that special in the return game you want to incorporate him."

Whiz said Peterson could field punts and we also could see Patrick and LaRod Stephens-Howling together in kick returns. How much he's involved in the return game will be determined by the number of snaps he's getting as a cornerback.

For more on the Cardinals, check out Revenge of the Birds.


Cardinals Backup Quarterback Not An Issue For Whisenhunt

Yes, it is way to soon to start making any decisions about which of the three quarterbacks that have practiced during the first week of Arizona Cardinals' training camp will emerge as the number two guy behind Kevin Kolb. The consensus from observers and outsiders I talk to is that John Skelton will get the nod but head coach Ken Whisenhunt is far from ready to call this race over.

"They're going to be judged more about what they do over the course of the time instead of one week of practice. I've been very pleased with all three of them," Whisenhunt said at his mid-day press conference on Thursday.

The three candidates -- Skelton along with Max Hall and Richard Bartel -- were able to take advantage of the first five days without Kolb. They got more reps while Kolb was prohibited from practicing then they will see moving forward now that Kolb, along with the 23 other veteran free agents, can begin practicing with the team.

Whisenhunt might not be willing to share his candid thoughts on their performance so far, but it's foolish not to think one of them holds a current lead.

In the mean time, Whisenhunt expressed only his pleasure with all three, "I've been very please with how all three of them have handled it. They've looked good at times and they've made their share of mistakes, which you expect."

And while he understandably wouldn't handicap the race this early, Whisenhunt was willing to share his thoughts on the eventual outcomes, "I don't think we're going to have any issue with the guy that's going to be the backup, that's for sure."

For more on the Arizona Cardinals, visit Revenge of the Birds.


Adrian Wilson, Ready To Go: 'I'm A Top-50 Player In This League'

Adrian Wilson is motivated by your negativity. He reads what's written about him being too old and that he should retire and he reads the next day when he's called "great". All that matters to the 11-year NFL veteran Arizona Cardinals safety is what goes on between the lines.

"I know what type of player I am. I know I'm a top-50 player in this league. I'll just go out there and do my thing and let my play speak," Wilson said after Cardinals morning practice on Wednesday, the fifth day of the 2011 Cardinals training camp.

Wilson's performance last season took a dip but that turned out to be due to a hip abductor injury that was much more serious than head coach Ken Whisenhunt said the team knew. The Cardinals were award he was sore and banged up but they didn't know he would require surgery in the offseason.

Adrian said that he doesn't reveal injuries and what's important is showing his teammates that he's willing to play through it. 

"We're not going to talk about that. We'll see September 11th," he said when asked how he's doing now. "It doesn't really matter. I'll get it back. Trust me, don't worry about that. I'll be fine."

Wilson spent a lot of time this offseason working with the younger players on the team and helping them prepare for training camp. One guy he's very high on is fellow defensive back, Patrick Peterson

"I think Patrick (Peterson) is pretty good," Wilson said about the third overall pick. "I love the kid, honestly. His confidence level makes me confident. He knows the playbook and he knows the things we want him to do. He doesn't talk back, which is great. He's one of those kids, you can tell, is very well rounded and he wants to be great and that's something that you always want in a kid like him."

For more on the Arizona Cardinals, visit Revenge of the Birds.


FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2009, file photo, Arizona Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson reacts after he sacked Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb during the second half of the NFL NFC championship football game in Glendale, Ariz. Two-time Pro Bowl safety Wilson signed a new five-year contract that runs through the 2013 season with the Arizona Cardinals . Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)



Sam Acho Exclusive Training Camp Interview, Learning To Be A Pro From The Pros

Texas rookie linebacker Sam Acho is just a few days into his first NFL training camp. He's got a lot to learn but is excited and getting positive feedback so far.


Duece Lutui Returns To Cardinals With Motivation And Great Quotes

Now playing the role of team punching bag, Deuce Lutui. The big guy is back in Cardinals' training camp and once again we are talking about his weight. After signing a big free agent deal with the Cincinnati Bengals, Lutui was bounced back to Arizona for failing his physical and came right back to the team that loves to love him.

Deuce, as always, had a lot to say to the media when he spoke right before lunch and in typical Deuce-fashion he lofted some great one-liners. 

"Having that burden coming into this world as a 13-pound baby, it's one of the crosses I've got to carry," Deuce said.

It's not all fun and games of course, which head coach Ken Whisenhunt made perfectly clear, "There's a lot of things you see that you just shake your head at...especially when you have a close relationship with someone like Deuce and the relationship he has with his team. It hurts to see him not realize the potential that you know is there."

Whisenhunt made it clear that the Cardinals aren't going to have a lot of patience with Lutui. They are setting up a plan for him with an ultimate target weight along with interim goals. Key to the plan will be maintaining the weight once (if) he reaches it. 

"Deuce and I have talked a few times --- and none of it was over a meal," Whiz said. "I'm not by any stretch angry or upset because we want Deuce to be successful. Not only selfishly for our football team but also because of the personal relationship you develop with players."

Lutui guaranteed that he has "a renewed commitment" and that he considers making weight a matter of integrity, "I'm not doing this because you're telling me, it is for my whole self, my health and everything like that."

Deuce had a message for the Bengals team that cut him as well, "Just understand what's leaving the door and I'll see you guys this Christmas." (Cardinals vs. Bengals, Week 16, Dec. 24.)

The Cardinals starting right guard from last season, however, also seemed like he almost wanted this result. 

Asked how he'd respond to fans who would say they could keep the weight off with millions of dollars at stake, he gave an interesting answer, "I look at the situation over there in Cincinnati with the quarterback situation, going in there after the CBA is handled and trying to learn a whole new playbook before the season...I know I've left a lot over there but I see this as an opportunity."

That kind of sounds like a guy with regrets about leaving in the first place, or, maybe like a guy rationalizing his inability to make weight. Whichever it is, he doesn't mind the criticism, "The good Lord made me this big so I could take a lot of blows."

The bottom line, Deuce says he's motivated to not only make weight but to raise the level of his play on the field, "I'm a nasty guy and I'll take the trash out on the field."

Other great Deuce quotes:

  • "My mother's so cute. She calls me yesterday, she's like, 'Deuce, I think I should start cooking for you.' And I was like, 'No, mom, you're the blame for all this.'"
  • Question: What food will you miss the most?
  • Answer: "Oh, jeez, don't say food right now!"


Deuce Lutui at an as of yet undetermined weight, talks with Craig Fouhy, Sports Director for ABC15 in Phoenix. August, 2, 2011. Photo via Seth Pollack's cell phone.


Todd Heap 'Excited To Be Here,' Will Try Not To Steal Catches From Larry Fitzgerald

Among the many free agent moves that the Arizona Cardinals have made this offseason, they recently signed veteran tight end Todd Heap. Heap is a local product, having attended Mesa Mountain View High School and Arizona State University, but it will be the first season of his pro career not playing for the Baltimore Ravens. He played in Baltimore for 10 years. On Tuesday, he was introduced to the media for the first time as a member of the Arizona Cardinals.

"It feels real good," said Heap about putting on a Cardinals hat. "Obviously I've been a Cardinals fan ever since they've been in town, so I'm excited to be back -- excited to be home."

His happiness was evident throughout the news conference, as he was smiling the entire time. He told the press that he and his wife made a list of teams he thought would be a good fit and a possibility for him to land. Of that list, Arizona "was definitely the top."

Now, historically, Arizona teams have seemed to be a sort of magnet for players in the twilight of their career. Many have not been terribly productive. Heap does not believe this will happen to him. "I've got a lot left," he explained. "I feel like I've got a lot of years in front of me. My body feels good, so I'm looking forward to see what we can accomplish."

Among the scores of players in the league, Heap worked out with Larry Fitzgerald in the offseason. How did Fitz react to the acquisition of Heap? He told Heap on the phone, "Hey, you can't be stealing my catches. i need at least 90." 

Heap's reaction? "That's all right, because all I need is 75."

The addition of Heap give the Cardinals their first genuine threat at the tight end position since Jay Novachek left to become an All-Pro for the Dallas Cowboys. That threat in the middle an only help Fitz and especially Kevin Kolb, who will lead the Cardinals at quarterback.

The short offseason has been seen as a successful one for the Cardinals thus far. All that is left for them is to see that success translate into performance on the field. That is always easier said than done.


Kevin Kolb Frustrated Having To Watch Practice, Falling Behind Each Day

After just a few days as the quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, what stands out about Kevin Kolb is his dedication and desire. Of course, anyone in that position is going to say the right things and project the right image to his new team and fans. Matt Leinart talked about being dedicated to football and working hard but that didn't turn out so well.

With Kolb, however, it does ring true when he talks about how frustrating it is having to watch while the rest of the team is on the field practicing.

You see it even in practice where some of the other veteran guys restricted from starting practice by league rules until August 4 are off somewhere else or grouped together on the sideline, Kolb is getting as close to the action as possible. He's standing with the coaches as they run QB drills. He's paying full attention to what's happening on the field.

Kolb says he's picked up a lot studying the playbook, reviewing film, talking to the coaching staff and sitting next to Larry Fitzgerald in meetings but it's still not the same as being on the field.

"The big thing now missing this time during the offseason is catching up on your speed of the game and making sure you can read and react as quickly as you need to. I'm anxious to get back out there," Kolb said in a mid-day press conference.

"The problem is, each day it's compacting on the day before. By the time I get out there it's going to be eight or 10 installs that are going to packed into my head. I just have to make sure that we slow it down. It's just kind of frustrating when you're leaving the field every day you go, 'man, I'm another half-a-step behind now from the rest of the group and of course the rest of the NFL."  

Kevin wants to play in first preseason game against Oakland on August 11 but understands and expects mistakes. He stresses that the important game comes in Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers on September 11.

Kolb excited about Todd Heap and tight ends

One thing that may be different about the Cardinals offense this season is the use of tight ends. Typically, it's not been a featured position in the Arizona passing attack but the team obviously wanted to change that so they went out and added some quality players at that position.

It started with drafting Rob Housler in the third round of the NFL Draft and then adding veteran free agent TE Jeff King who's known more for his blocking and run support and Jim Dray and Stephen Spach are also back in camp. Topping it all off on Sunday was the signing of Todd Heap. 

Heap has everyone from the coach to Larry Fitzgerald to Kevin Kolb excited. He's expected to arrive in camp late Monday evening. There are already signs of change with Cardinal's blogger Jess Root (at camp in Flagstaff) seeing more formations with two tight ends. 

For Kolb, playing with a talented tight end is familiar, "It means a lot and it can mean a lot to this offense just in the few days I've spent in it. I got to where I relied on (Philadelphia Eagle tight end Brent) Celek a lot. Him and I had a good relationship and he can be a safety valve, tight end can be a safety valve for you."

For more on the Arizona Cardinals, visit Revenge of the Birds.


NFL Training Camp: Larry Fitzgerald Says He's Rusty, Video Proves Otherwise

The Arizona Cardinals got underway with their first day of practice in training camp for the 2011 NFL season. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt said he was pleased with the effort and intensity but, "you could tell it was the first practice ever for this group."

Whisenhunt said his guys were in "pretty good shape" but stressed there's a difference between that and being in football shape. One guy not at practice today was third overall pick, Patrick Peterson. That's about to change though, since Peterson and the Cardinals have agreed to terms on a five-year deal and he'll be in camp Sunday night. 

Larry Fitzgerald was just happy to get back on the field, "It was good to get back on the field. It's great to be back here in Flagstaff in front of our fans. I know they've been waiting for football, we've been waiting for football, so it's an exciting day for us all."

The star wide receiver is also pleased with the direction the team is headed, "This is the most active I've ever seen the team in free agency and I think that's really exciting. We addressed a couple of needs. We lost some guys in free agency and obviously a starting cornerback but I think the team is doing a good job addressing the needs that we have. We're going to continue to make acquisitions, that's what they say."

The best part of practice was watching Fitzgerald do his thing. The ball sounds different going into his soft hands and while he said after practice that he has a lot of work to do, there's at least one play caught on film that disputes that. 

In the first part of the clip, Beanie Wells -- the default number one back with free agent Tim Hightower and rookie Ryan Williams not yet in camp -- breaks off a nice run in a low-contact, 11-on-11 scrimmage. In the next play we see John Skelton under throw a ball to Fitz on the sideline but...well, you know how that's going to end.


Arizona Cardinals Training Camp Report, Day 1: Practice? We ARE Talking About Practice

Just about three hours before the Arizona Cardinals took the practice field for the first time in the 2011 NFL Season Training Camp head coach Ken Whisenhunt addressed the media in a cozy meeting room near the dinning facility on the campus of Northern Arizona University. Aside from a light rain, it was a shame to even be inside at all and hopefully, that rain will clear in time for practice.

"Get through it without rain," Whisenhunt responded when asked about his goals for Saturday afternoon. Should the rain come back (it's stopped now) the team will move inside the NAU Walkup Skydome which will prevent the fans from watching their team work out.

The town of Flagstaff is thrilled to have camp here again and the fans that come to get close to the team are happy the lockout is over. Whisenhunt appreciates that relationship as much as anyone.

"It's a very important relationship between our fans and our players and obviously, this is a great venue for that to happen," Coach said.

The first practice itself, as with many things at this training camp, will be a little different due to the lockout.

"When we go out on the field where we go for our individual drills, where we line up for stretch, where do all those things -- we haven't done that. We've always already had the opportunity to do that. Getting through this practice in a semi-organized manner and able to run plays and play defense and really getting a feel for getting started."

Making the confusion even more...confusing...is the roster situation.

Whiz wasn't even sure how many players he had in camp and how many would be available to practice on Saturday. He guessed there were about 70 total players but many veteran free agents like Kevin Kolb and Daryn Colledge won't be able to take the field for several more days.

Colledge for his part, admitted that he had a lot to learn in a short period of time. The biggest issues for him are communication, terminology and chemistry on the O-line. The focus for his training camp will be getting with center and tackles and making sure everyone is on the same page.

"For me, it's going to be getting rid of the habits of what I would do to make adjustments to defenses in my old game and make adjustments here and make sure everybody's on the same page. Like I said, there's dude's behind us who's lives are probably on the line, I need to be doing that right," Colledge said.

A running theme for this training camp will be how quickly the team overcomes the challenges that come with the lockout and how fast they can get on the same page and start working on the more advanced skills needed for the season. Whisenhunt puts a lot of burden for that task on his veteran players who will have to help the coaching staff show the new guys how the Cardinals do their business.

Other Notes:

  • "It went good. We had a couple of guys that struggled which you thought they probably would but for the most part, by and large, most of them did very well. It was a good start," Whisenhunt said about the conditioning test. He thought that there would be a bit of extra conditioning in this camp at the end of practice.
  • "We had a need at the corner after having made the move to get the quarterback. We played against Richard a number of years. I've always respected the job that he's done, how physical he's played. He's made some plays against us.
  • "He's a good corner. He's a physical corner. Like I said, he's been productive and made some plays in the league. As far as where he fits in with our team, he's going to have a chance to compete. We have a lot of positions like that and that's what's hopefully going to make us better," Whisenhunt said about veteran cornerback Richard Marshall who was signed today. Marshall will arrive in Flagstaff sometime later today.
  • "The biggest thing for us is just trying to get our little components done in separate practices. When I talk about components, for instance red zone passing, two minute, goal line, all those situations that you that you can spread out now we have to make sure that we allow time for them in different sections of practice. That's what's going to be new about it this year," Whisenhunt said about the differences in training camp this season due to the lockout.
  • Daryn Colledge called this an exciting opportunity with a team that went to the Super Bowl a couple of years ago and has a lot of the same talent still here. "I won a world championship last year and that felt great. I'd love to try and do it again with a team that's starting out at the bottom."
  • "It's nice to know a lot of teams wanted me and it's nice to Arizona wanted me," Colledge said.
  • "I know Kevin (Kolb) in passing because my Green Bay Packers took him out. So, me and Kevin have a relationship but this one will be much more friendly. I know his talent, I know what he can do. I've seen him play. He's talented quarterback and I'm excited to block for him," Colledge said.
  • "If you're not getting better as an offensive lineman here, you're not getting better anywhere," Colledge said about playing for Russ Grimm and Ken Whisenhunt.
  • "It's a similar defense to what we did last year but different terminology and what we call different things. It's hard to get used to because some of the stuff we had terminology where it was the same names but it had different meanings so it kind of confused you a little bit. I think just going through it, it will be fine," Calais Campbell said about Ray Horton's new defense.

For more on the Cardinals, check out Revenge of the Birds.


Arizona Cardinals' quarterback John Skelton arrives for NFL football training camp, Friday, July 29, 2011, at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Ariz. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Wallace)  


Arizona Cardinals Training Camp Schedule And Public Practice Info

The Arizona Cardinals have released their full training camp schedule for the 2011 trip to Flagstaff. All practices are open to the public if they are outdoors. Due to construction, practices that have to be moved inside to the Walkup Skydome due to weather will be closed. Outdoor practices will be held on the fields near the Skydome with free parking for the public.

There will be a special Red & White Practice from 11:35 am - 1:20 pm on August 6. Weather permitting, there will be an hour-long full-team autograph session for kids 12 and under. That will take place from 10:45 - 11:10 am.

The Cardinals will also have a night practice on Tuesday, August 16 from 7:05 - 9:10 pm at nearby Coconino High School. 

Here's the full practice schedule as it stands with all times subject to change.

Date                                        Practice Time                       

Saturday, 7/30/11 3:05-5:00 PM

Sunday, 7/31/11 3:05-5:05 PM               

Monday, 8/1/11  9:05-10:30 AM  /  3:05-5:05 PM

Tuesday, 8/2/11  3:05-5:00 PM                               

Wednesday, 8/3/11 9:05-10:30 AM   /  3:05-5:00 PM

Thursday, 8/4/11  3:05-5:00 PM

Friday, 8/5/11  9:05-10:30 AM   /  3:05-5:15 PM                          

Saturday, 8/6/11 11:35 AM-1:20 PM                                     

 Monday, 8/8/11  3:05-5:00 PM

Tuesday, 8/9/11 3:05-5:00 PM        

Thursday, 8/11/11 PRESEASON GAME #1 at Oakland

Sunday, 8/14/11 4:20-5:20 PM                                      

Monday, 8/15/11 3:05-5:00 PM                               

Tuesday, 8/16/11 7:05-9:10 PM (Coconino High School)       

Wednesday, 8/17/11  3:05-5:00 PM       

Friday, 8/19/11 PRESEASON GAME #2 at Green Bay

Monday, 8/22/11 3:35-5:15 PM                                  

Tuesday, 8/23/11 3:05-4:55 PM       

Wednesday, 8/24/11  9:05-10:20 AM / 3:05-5:00 PM       

Thursday, 8/25/11  9:05-10:30 AM

Saturday, 8/27/11 PRESEASON GAME #3 vs San Diego

Thursday, 9/1/11 PRESEASON GAME #4 vs Denver   


Darnell Dockett Ready For Camp, Hopes Teammates Are Too

Darnell Dockett can be a funny guy at times but he was all business on his first official day back at the Arizona Cardinals Tempe training facility. He got in a workout and caught up on things with his coaches. When asked about his team the game face came on.

"When you finish last place in the division, you know you have a lot of work to do and I feel like we're a couple of steps behind and the only way we were going to be able to do that was to have a great offseason but that didn't happen. Right now we just have to focus in and hope that we have enough mature guys to go on the field and get it done and play catch up," Dockett said.

He sees the key to a successful camp resting on team leaders like himself who need to make sure the players stay focused and don't fall back on excuses. According to Darnell, after seven months off there's no reason for guys complaining about being tired or sore -- "Just get the job done."

While he says that he's in shape and ready to get back to work, the defensive tackle is not so sure that everyone will be.

"Just hoping that my teammates have been taking the initiative to get the job done and been working. That's the biggest thing that I was concerned about was everybody else doing their job, everybody staying in shape."

The most important sign that Darnell is ready was revealed by this answer,

"My alligator's in Florida. I miss him too. I was going to ask coach can I bring him to training camp but I was pretty sure he was going to say no so I just wanted to save myself the hassle."

No alligator. All business. Darnell Dockett reporting for duty.

Audio: Darnell Dockett 072611


TEMPE, AZ - JULY 26: Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett #90 of the Arizona Cardinals speaks to the media as he reports to the team's training center facility on July 26, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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