It was blatantly obvious after last Wednesday night's practice, that the Cardinals players were getting tired of going against one another. After a week of togetherness in the close confines of Flagstaff, where the players eat, sleep, study, and practice together, one could easily tell that the Cardinals were more than ready to face an opponent. That opportunity comes this Sunday, August 5, as the Cardinals will face the New Orleans Saints in the preseason opener, the NFL Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.
Offensive tackle Jeremy Bridges was definitely one of the more vocal players during the Wednesday night practice, especially towards the end during the goal line drill. Here is what he said about training camp, and looking forward to playing on Sunday. "We kind of get on each other's nerves. We've been in camp longer than anyone else, and it's getting to that point where I need to see another helmet, besides one with a bird on it."
Calais Campbell said, "We can't wait. We're really looking forward to going out there Sunday, because any time you're on the field you want to dominate and ball out. When you're going against your teammates it's kind of hard to really want to go as hard as you can. When you get a chance to go against somebody else, you want to go as hard as you can, you know, try to beat them as bad as you can." Campbell added that playing in the Hall of Fame game will add even more to the atmosphere, and he is really looking forward to it.
When asked about their first preseason game, Kevin Kolb said "We're excited to go to Canton. There's a lot of hoopla surrounding the game. We'll enjoy it and go out there and compete our butt off."
Sam Acho, one of young linebackers who had a very promising rookie season with the team last year added, "This team has so many passionate players, so many people that are just ready to hit somebody in a different colored jersey."
Larry Fitzgerald said the team is looking forward to playing somebody else and hitting some other guys. "We're looking forward to Sunday. It's going to be a great test for us, but we should be able to go out there and execute and get some things done." He finished by saying "Obviously we would love to score some points and get off the field with no injuries."
Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt echoed Fitzgerald's comments by saying, "I just hope that we play a good physical game, and that we don't make any mistakes; that we come out of it injury free. There will be a lot of energy with this game because it is the Hall of Fame game." Coach also emphasized that as a team, "We're about ready for a game," and added, "I know we'll play hard."
The Hall of Fame game has been the staple game to signify the start of a new football season, and it will finally give the Cardinals another opponent to compete against. It will serve as a good gauge as to the progress of the team, and give Coach Whisenhunt an opportunity to evaluate players in a live game. The Cardinals need to be careful what they wish for, however, as the Saints are probably just as hungry to face an opponent.