I remember, once upon a time, when the Cards had their annual fan-watching-minicamp practices at Sun Devil Stadium when it was called Select-a-Seat. Those days were hot — those metal bleachers really intensified the heat — and didn’t quite have the same vibe as Wednesday night at University of Phoenix Stadium. The turnstile count was just north of 15,000 (the FanFests at the Tempe facility usually get around 5,000), an impressive turnout.
The biggest news of the night, however, was the return of running back Ryan Williams to 11-on-11 work. There is no tackling, no real contact at all, but for Williams to cut and dart like a regular play for the first time since rupturing his patella tendon meant a lot. Williams got just three carries (plus a handful of plays in 7-on-7) but was beaming afterward.
“I haven’t run that fast since I got hurt,” Williams said. “They sprinkled me in there. My first carry (pictured below), I was like, ‘Wow, I’m almost back. I’m almost back.”
Coach Ken Whisenhunt called it “an important part of the rehab process.”
“He looked good,” Whisenhunt said. “You forget his quickness, his vision. There is always a little trepidation on your first action like that. It was good to get it out of the way. Now it’s out of his head.”
— There were two big highlights. Rookie receiver Michael Floyd hauled in a long touchdown pass, and then linebacker Reggie Walker did a nice job blanketing tight end Rob Housler and making an end zone interception. Unfortunately, Walker’s post-play celebration was a dance that just left his defensive teammates laughing at him.
“I told them whenever I get a pick or score a touchdown, I’m going to do a dance,” Walker said, “but four (dances) came out at once. I hope no one was taping it.”
— Whisenhunt, with his team down to one practice left for the offseason Thursday morning, said he was pleased with the first workout at the stadium ever.
“What a great atmosphere,” Whisenhunt said. “There were an amazing number of fans with how loud it got. Something like this you don’t know how the team will react. It was a good sign.”
Tags: Ryan Williams
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