A night of intensity

Posted by Darren Urban on August 1, 2012 – 9:56 pm

The night practices in Flagstaff — especially the first one, which this year means the only one — always brings with it a certain vibe. It’s usually at least a week into camp. By then, the offense and defense are tired of each other. Then coach Ken Whisenhunt pulls out the live goal line session at the end of the evening, and all heck breaks loose.

After Wednesday night’s battle, linebacker Clark Haggans was succinct: “What happens at Lumberjack Stadium stays in Lumberjack Stadium.”

It’s not so much what happens but how it unfolds, with both sides yapping at each other and trash talk of the highest order. It was heated when Kevin Kolb threw a bullet into the back of the end zone that Larry Fitzgerald and Justin Bethel each got a hand on, only to have to ball pop in the air so Fitz could grab a touchdown. It went back the defensive way when fullback Anthony Sherman, on a rare carry, had his helmet blasted off by linebacker Colin Parker. And then the emotion swung to the offense again when offensive coordinator Mike Miller and quarterback John Skelton conspired to fool the world — with Miller calling the exact same play for Sherman and telling Skelton to keep it for a naked bootleg without telling the offense.


“We get the best out of each other,” said tackle Jeremy Bridges, the king of the talkers Wednesday. “We get on each other’s nerves as you can see. It’s bragging rights amongst us. But in the big scheme of things, there will be a lot of people who will feel the wrath of Birdgang this year.”

Cornerback William Gay doesn’t play in the goal line package, but he was up in the defensive unit’s face after every play, like a boxing corner man pumping up his prize fighter.

“It’s the only thing that’s fully, fully live, tackle to the ground,” defensive end Calais Campbell said. “Situation like that, you can’t let the other unit get the best of you.”

“No one ever wants to lose,” Skelton said. “You want to score a touchdown every time on offense and you don’t want to give up one on defense. It’s just pride.”

There was no official winner — Kolb said Whisenhunt called it a tie — but when Bridges was asked about who won, he didn’t miss a beat. “The Cardinals.”

(And yes, video will be posted later.)

— Kolb said his quad “held up fine” — he was not limited at all — but he knew everything else took a backseat to the part at the end. “The intensity was through the roof.”

— Safety Adrian Wilson and running back William Powell each came out of the practice after what looked like some sort of leg injury for each. Neither looked serious.

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Posted in Blog | 26 Comments »

26 Responses to “A night of intensity”

  1. By Eric on Aug 1, 2012 | Reply

    Wow, what a well written piece. I feel like I am there watching the intensity! Can’t wait for football!!!

  2. By brad oneill on Aug 1, 2012 | Reply

    now that is a practice!!

  3. By Gary GARCIA on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply

    Just rolled in from a wonderful Northern AZ day trip with the only disappointment being the AZ Cardinals camp. Despite arriving early my NAU senior daughter and my 7 and 8 year old sons (among many other disappointed fans) were denied access to the practice when clearly there were many seats available.

    Before I forget Meteor Crater is a must see!

    Apparently by rule of the “the Cardinals” only 1000 people were to be allowed access. We managed to watch for awhile from the perimeter but what a disappointment, especially for my boys. I am sure that momma will get them to be Bronco fans now!

    I’ll ask more questions about this of the Cardinals’ management, City management, and NAU management but for now I’d like for “the Cardinals” to answer the questions for my sons that I could not answer:

    Why can’t we get in; there are plenty of seats?
    Why can’t they play in the Skydome so all the fans can see their team (and favorite players).

    Looking forward to a response from the shameless, faceless “Cardinals”.

    I’ll be asking the AZ Republic to help investigate this but also if other fans had similar experiences please post.

  4. By Darren Urban on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply

    Gary —

    RE: Night practice

    I apologize on behalf of the franchise you weren’t able to get in. I had posted in the blog, an article and a few times on Twitter that entry would be limited to 1,000 because that was the limit of the seating.

    As for the location, the team will always choose to practice outside over the Skydome if possible because of the wear and tear fake grass has on players as opposed to playing on real grass.

  5. By mike (AZcatsNcards) on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply

    Thank you so much Darren!
    Since I can’t be there I love to read your stories like this. I LOVE IT! You have to love what Jeremy said! Hope the intensity stays high throughout the preseason and in camp and of course into the regular season! GO CARDS!

  6. By Chief on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply


    Sorry about your luck. Not such a big deal that you need to insult the Cardinals organization (shameless and faceless…really?) and threaten to tell the AZ Republic. You weren’t one of the 1000 allowed in, deal with it. At least you were in Flagstaff spending time with your kids close to training camp.

    Darren- Thank you for your continued, detailed coverage of training camp and all things Cardinals. I am currently deployed to the Middle East and is my only link to training camp and news of the team. Good job, good articles and keep up the good work!!

  7. By truths4all on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply

    Gary –

    Your sense of entitlement is amazing. As always with FREE events, it is first come, first served. This was a prime opportunity to teach your kids a lesson on the realities of life and the consequences of being late instead of further ingraining in them that nasty mindset of “Someone owes me my freebies, and if not, heads will roll.” Perhaps you are royalty and are used to having your whims being served, but there was a lot of info out there advising everyone admittance to this practice would be limited.

  8. By Johnny on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply

    Whenever you have a limited seating event, be prepared to show up 12 hours in advance and then you have a good chance of getting a upper level seat.The days of no lines are long gone so be prepared, take lots of water and some chairs and get caught up in the moment, because anyone with young children knows that standing in line for 12 hours is easy.

  9. By Dynosoar on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply

    Perhaps, just perhaps, the reason defenses win championships is if the offense has to face an elite defense every practice, they have to become elite themselves. Success breeds success and while it began last season with the defense, it will ultimately end with an elite dynasty in the desert. Go cards!

  10. By Eric on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply


    Just because there were plenty of open seats, doesn’t mean the alloted number of people weren’t already in the facility. I’m sorry you had a disappointing evening, but your sense of entitlement is bordering on ridiculous. I wish I could have been there last night. I would have gladly stood on the perimeter, just to be there. There always has to be a complainer.

  11. By Ditship on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply


    Very well said. Personally I think the Cardinals have done a fantastic job with all of the FREE events they have offered their loyal fans. I would be hard put saying they’ve been “faceless” as well. Do these events go perfect? Obviously not. I think people just forget exactly how accommodating FREE can usually be.


    I wanted to thank you and the organization that employs you for the entertainment provided BEYOND Sundays. This site is fantastic and I come here daily to read your articles and watch the fantastic videos and audio that are posted daily. It’s very much appreciated.

  12. By Travis on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply

    We made it last night, of course we weren’t one of the first 1000. However, about 20min into practice when the first wave of folks leaving came out of the stands we were able to get their wristbands and head right in! Cardinals fans look after another!

    btw, did anyone else see Larry play a little catch and chat with Thunder Dan?! Awesome!

  13. By eric on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply

    I was gonna comment towards Gary, but it seems that has been pretty well covered. Just wanted to thank you again for the coverage Darren. This site gets me pumped everyday for football!

  14. By Rio on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply

    Gary we know you are a Denver fan, it was well posted that only the first 1,000 would be let in, If you love your kids so much why not get there a little early so they could see the game, Only you are too blame, it is a longer drive to Denver to see their practice i here lhousing prices are very good there. Maybe you should look into iit i am sure your wife would love it there.

  15. By Bob-O on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply

    I couldn’t help reading Gary’s comment in a grown a** man crying voice. makes me sick. Man up Mr. waaaa waaa I didn’t get my way and If I don’t get my way I’m gonna hold my breath until I pa…….zzzzzzzz

  16. By Darren Urban on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply

    Everyone —

    RE: Complaints

    OK everyone. Time to move on from this subject.

  17. By desertspin on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply

    we were there – we could see great behind the fence on our lawn chairs. BEST PRACTICE I’VE SEEN IN 2 YEARS OF GOING TO FLAG!

  18. By desertspin on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply

    As a long time Card fan I say M Bidwill, R Graves & K Whisenhunt are a class act & are the best thing to ever happen to the Cardinals. They got us to a conference championship & our FIRST superbowl EVER. We also have a beautiful stadium, in which M Bidwill’s tireless efforts & team money contributed greatly to. The fans have returned the favor with 63 straight regular season sell outs. We do this together, right?

    Darren – loved your blog. I was there last nite & felt the intensity of the players. Great night in Flagstaff for AZ Cardinal fans.

  19. By BIG RED on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply

    Enough with the Quad, his fine. Don’t make a big deal out of it, don’t make it seem like the cowboys with romo, excuses, excuses.

  20. By Dave on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply

    Urban…please grow some journalistic balls and replace ‘heck’ with ‘hell.’ So tired of everything AZ media related feeling like the ‘B team’ is the best it will ever get.

  21. By Darren Urban on Aug 3, 2012 | Reply

    Dave —

    RE: Suggestion

    Tell you what: Try referring to me as Mr. Urban. Maybe then I’ll listen to you. My guess is you wouldn’t know the first thing about journalism.

  22. By Gary Garcia on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply

    LOL! What a surprise! Thanks for the laugh and perspective calibration. Maybe spending 12 days with my 7 and 8 year old sons led me to act their age and indeed it was a small inconvenience to the awesome time we had overall.

    I guess I deserved most of that but you had to be there. It was irritatingly comical. A stadium advertised at a 3000 capacity (google it: with easily 3 times the availability of the less than 200 folks outside. I guess what got my goat was the guilt ridden faces of the entry staff when they knew there was easily space to accomodate all of the fans. Or if you look at it the other way maybe they filled it to 2500; either way 1000 was a joke.

    I don’t think I’ll tear up my season tickets which ironically were in the mail today. (105XXX05 for you detectvies out there). Maybe the boys and I will watch the original Willie Wonka this weekend. Thanks again all.

  23. By djiigo on Aug 3, 2012 | Reply

    As goes the heated practice, so does the thread. Nobody can blame us Cardinals fans for a lack of passion. Mr. Urban, thanks for all you do on what can be a thankless job at times. If it makes you feel better, you can come aboard my ship and tell me what to do and odds are I’d laugh it off the way you do most of the times. Of course I’d have the luxury to kick you off which you don’t necessarily have here…well, besides blocking certain IP Addresses, e-mails, etc. Hope you are able to get back to spend some quality time with your family after being at camp gathering info, verifying facts and bouncing references/resources to get us the latest and greatest. And thanks to all the Cardinals fans who stick it out with the team through thick and thin. Now where did I put that can of kick arse??? Maybe some of the players found it and plan on using it this year!

  24. By Louisville Card on Aug 3, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    Another nice article as always, I wish I could’ve been there. I have been noticing Parker’s name around a little. What do you think his chances are of making the cut or PS? Seems like he has some potential…

  25. By Darren Urban on Aug 3, 2012 | Reply

    Louisville —

    RE: Parker

    I think he’d be a PS candidate. Going to be awfully hard to make the roster.

  26. By Eazy E on Aug 3, 2012 | Reply

    I bet it was fun to watch.

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