Fan Fest info for June 13? Here you go

Posted by Darren Urban on May 23, 2012 – 4:08 pm

Many have been asking about Fan Fest, which we already knew would take place during the middle day of minicamp on June 13 at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Here is some of the key planning info:

— Doors will open at the stadium at 5:30 p.m.

— There will be, as usual, an autograph session for kids 12 and under — please note the age restriction — that will begin at 6:15 and run until 6:40. As in the past, certain players will be limited via selection of random wristband process.

— Practice will be held from 6:45-8:30 p.m.

It should also be noted that the event concessions will include $1 hot dogs and sodas, a good way to fill up the family. There will be more details to come when we get closer, but this will help fill out the calendar.

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A little less Fitz

Posted by Darren Urban on May 23, 2012 – 9:35 am

I guess this is what happens when you are at the top of your game — or maybe why you are at the top of your game — but wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald admitted that, yes, he indeed is overweight.

Wait, what?

“A couple of pounds” is what he said he needed to lose, although it’s tough to tell. He’s a far cry from the guy whose body was overhauled when strength and conditioning coach John Lott first arrived.

“I am a little heavy,” Fitzgerald said. “I have to get back into football shape before I can start telling guys what to do.”

The subject came up when Fitz was asked what advice and/or tutelage he was giving No. 1 draft pick Michael Floyd. Floyd is staying at Fitz’s house for now — although Fitz said he “could not deny nor confirm” that to be the case — and when Fitz was asked about Floyd’s potential impact, he dug up a time “many moons ago” when he was a ballboy for the 1998 Vikings.

“They had Jake Reed and Cris Carter and Robert Smith and they drafted Randy Moss and he was the difference the league had never seen before,” Fitzgerald said. “(To) get a talented player on the offensive side of the ball that can produce like (Floyd) can, it’s going to be a tremendous asset.”

Not that Fitz is saying Floyd will be Moss-incarnate. Floyd doesn’t have anywhere that type of speed. But Floyd could help the offense, especially if he follows the lead of Fitz who is already watching his weight.


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King hurt, Beanie rehabs and a good first OTA

Posted by Darren Urban on May 22, 2012 – 12:58 pm

The Cardinals had almost everyone on the field today to start OTAs. One man who had hoped to be out there was veteran tight end Jeff King, but it turns out he suffered a partial tear of his quadriceps tendon recently working out at the facility. He had surgery to repair it and is scheduled to return for training camp.

UPDATE: King saw this post on Twitter and responded via Twitter: “Will come back stronger….“The finest steel has to go through the hottest fire.” ”

The OTAs, which are voluntary, got great turnout once again. Those who weren’t practicing couldn’t because of injury or other reasons (rookie guard Senio Kelemete isn’t here because the University of Washington remains in session.) As expected running backs Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams were both off to the side rehabbing their respective knee injuries.

Wells expanded on some of his thoughts about sitting out during OTAs, and coach Ken Whisenhunt addressed them as well, saying it was the plan all along to have Wells sitting at this point. Beanie still has no desire to talk details about his surgery. He reiterated it was “a scope, clean things up.” When asked if it was to repair the meniscus, Beanie said it was “a little more complicated.”

“I am pretty confident in being ready when the time is right,” Wells said. “It’s football. I’m just glad to have a job.”

— CB Greg Toler, rehabbing from an ACL tear, has returned. He is limited in his number of reps but did everything. More on him in a later blog post.

— Lineups mean little right now, but William Gay was working on the top unit at cornerback with Patrick Peterson (although the secondary coaches were careful to call their lineups 1a and 1b right now). Jeremy Bridges is working as the top right tackle. Kevin Kolb was with the top unit at quarterback. At receiver — although that’s a position that always tends to be fluid during OTAs and practices when everyone is trying to get reps — Andre Roberts joined Larry Fitzgerald, DeMarco Sampson was with Early Doucet next, and then came Michael Floyd and Stephen Williams.

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Guessing what Card is up on NFL Net’s 100

Posted by Darren Urban on May 21, 2012 – 1:50 pm

For those who have NFL Network (and/or are following this at, you know that of their now annual top 100 list of current players (determined by a vote of the current players in the league) has now named players 61-100 with nary a mention of a Cardinal. That’s changing this week.

This week’s group of 10 will include a Cardinal (the show will air for the first time Wednesday at 5 p.m. Arizona time, 8 p.m. in the East.) Who it is I don’t know yet. I do know it is a player from the defense, although I would have bet my life savings it wouldn’t have been Larry Fitzgerald anyway — too low.  (Fitz was 14th last year.) I know the Card wasn’t on the inaugural top 100 list last year, which would rule out safety Adrian Wilson (who was No. 89 last year.)

That would seem to leave three legitimate candidates. Darnell Dockett is one, but since he didn’t even make the list last year when he had been more statistically productive, I’m not sure he’s jumping in the top 60. To me, defensive end Calais Campbell makes the most sense, with his impact both on defense and special teams and his arrow pointing up — but I’m not sure how much overall respect Campbell is getting yet around the league with his peers.

That leaves Patrick Peterson, and I can see it. He grabbed headlines — spectacularly — with his four punt returns for touchdowns last year, will get better as a cornerback and still made a few plays. Other players seem to like guys with the right pedigree, and Peterson qualifies there. He’s already high-profile.

We’ll see Wednesday afternoon.

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OTAs start Tuesday

Posted by Darren Urban on May 21, 2012 – 9:24 am

There has been a little bit of on-field work for the veterans the last couple of weeks, but it was very limited. Each position went out on its own to work with position coaches on technique for a short time, and then the offensive skill positions got together for a little while so quarterbacks could throw some routes to the receivers, tight ends and running backs.

But the offseason officially shifts again tomorrow, when the first of 10 organized team workouts will be held at the team facility in Tempe. In year’s past, the OTAs came after the full team minicamp. With the new collective bargaining agreement, minicamp is now the last thing the veterans will do before breaking up for the summer prior to training camp. Minicamp will be June 12-14. In the meantime, the Cards will have their OTAs Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week, May 29-31, and June 4-7. (Sorry, the OTs aren’t open to the public, and only one minicamp practice will be open — the June 13 Fan Fest event out at University of Phoenix Stadium, with details still TBA.)

In OTAs, players are allowed to wear helmets (they have not been able to in the on-field work up to this point) but no shells or pads. Offense and defense can go against each other, but “live contact” isn’t allowed. As always, don’t look to deep into OTAs — or minicamp, for that matter — for answers to lineup questions. I keep thinking back to the comment from coach Ken Whisenhunt during rookie minicamp: “You’re not going to make the team this weekend. If you want to make a good impression, don’t make mistakes and do it right from a technique standpoint.”

Obviously vets have to show a little more than that, but that first line — “You’re not going to make the team this weekend” — rings true. No one is making the team because of OTAs. No one is winning a job (starting with Kolb v Skelton.) It takes a lot for anyone not to look good in shorts and t-shirts. Training camp and preseason games ultimately will be from where those decisions are made. But coaches will pay attention to effort and focus. This is where the offense and defense is installed for the first time. This is what the Cards were missing last season from a mental standpoint. That’s what this will be about.

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Beanie working his way back

Posted by Darren Urban on May 18, 2012 – 12:39 pm

One of the Cards’ rehabbing running backs hasn’t been shy to talk about his comeback. The other has never been big on talking much about his dings and dents, but Beanie Wells said he is “coming along” after his offseason knee surgery.

“I’m rehabbing, just trying to get back,” Wells said.

He said he doesn’t know his timetable for his return to the field. Wells has been at the facility, and on days where the veterans have gone out as an offense to work on passing routes, Wells has joined them outside even though he can’t take part. His ability to take part in organized team activities and/or minicamp is to be announced.

“I am hopeful, but it’s offseason stuff,” Wells said. “Being ready for training camp is the most important thing.”

The Cardinals did just sign running back Javarris James, likely more as a body to get through the offseason work more than anything else. As I have mentioned, the team didn’t draft a running back or sign an undrafted rookie running back, so there has to be confidence both Wells and the aforementioned Ryan Williams (coming off patella tendon surgery) will be ready when it matters. Williams, who is anxious to get back on the field right now, admits the team will likely not push him now, instead wanting to preserve him for camp. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the team takes the same tact with Beanie.

He’s made that work before. Last season, Beanie didn’t get any summer work — no one did, because of the lockout — and he still had a career-high 1,047 yards rushing, 10 touchdowns and a 4.3 per-carry average despite battling his knee injury most of the season.

“Last year, we didn’t have an offseason and my year paid dividends,” Wells said. “We’ll take it from there.”

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Training camp to start July 24

Posted by Darren Urban on May 17, 2012 – 4:14 pm

The full camp schedule is still to come, but the Cardinals will report to Flagstaff for training camp July 24 — a Tuesday — and the first practice will be the following afternoon on the 25th. Sorry, but no further details at this point while the schedule is being worked out.

The Cards have their first preseason game Aug. 5 in Canton, Ohio, against the Saints for the Hall of Fame game. The Cardinals could have gone to camp 15 days prior to that — three days before they will end up going — but coach Ken Whisenhunt had said the Cards wouldn’t go that early. I’m not sure yet if there is going to be a Red and White practice, but as soon as I know more camp info, you will too.

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Cards sign seventh-rounder Potter

Posted by Darren Urban on May 17, 2012 – 12:40 pm

The Cardinals signed another draft pick Thursday when seventh-round pick Nate Potter, a tackle, inked a four-year contract. That leaves just the Cards’ top two picks — first-round WR Michael Floyd and third-round CB Jamell Fleming — unsigned out of seven draft picks. Those should be coming soon enough, relatively speaking. It is going to be nice not to have the annual “Are-they-going-to-sign-all-their-picks-for-camp” story this year.

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A top 100 with Cards sprinkled in

Posted by Darren Urban on May 17, 2012 – 9:22 am

While the NFL Network continues to count down it’s top 100 current players in the NFL based on interviews with players — no Cards on the list from 61-100, which is all that has been unveiled at this point —’s Pete Prisco put out his own annual top 100 list today, which has four Cards on it. It just so happens to  be the last four Cards to receive significant contract extensions, so at least one person agrees with the organization’s line of thinking.

Prisco bases his list in part on talks with scouts but a lot of his findings are based on his own eyes and what he has seen on tape after covering the NFL for many, many years. His rankings and notes on the Cards on his list:

No. 9 WR Larry Fitzgerald “He once again put up big numbers, despite little help on the other side and so-so quarterback play.” Fitz was ranked 18th by Prisco last year.
No. 58 DE Calais Campbell “The Cardinals rewarded him with a big contract last week for a reason. He was their best defensive player last season.” Campbell wasn’t ranked last season.
No. 70 S Adrian Wilson “He’s been one of my favorites for a long time and bounced back from a subpar 2010 season to play at his usual high level. The amazing thing is he did it with a torn biceps tendon. Wow.” Ranked 44th last season.
No. 92 DE Darnell Dockett “He wasn’t as good as Campbell last season, but he’s still one of the better down lineman in the league. Dockett plays with a nasty streak.” Ranked 73rd last season.

Of course, these are all just opinion. But that’s what we all do this time of year when it comes to the NFL.

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Cards sign defensive end

Posted by Darren Urban on May 16, 2012 – 1:18 pm

The Cardinals signed veteran defensive end Landon Cohen, who played one game with the Patriots last season, to a contract Wednesday. Cohen has been in the league since 2008, bouncing around to three previous teams and having a high of 14 games played in 2009 with the Lions. He is 6-foot-3, 300 pounds. Cohen’s arrival means the Cards have maxed out their roster at 90 players, although don’t fret (because I know the questions will come), veterans DE Vonnie Holliday and LB Clark Haggans are still very real possibilities. If anyone else is signed, of course, it means a player has to be released.

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