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.
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.