First practice, first thoughts

Posted by Darren Urban on July 26, 2014 – 5:43 pm

The first practice for the Cardinals is over. With that, a few observations I made today, knowing that the Cardinals still aren’t wearing pads:

— The first units were how the Cardinals ended the offseason work. Bobby Massie and Paul Fanaika were running first-unit right tackle and right guard respectively. With LB John Abraham still absent, Alex Okafor ran with the first team on the other side from Matt Shaughnessy. In nickel defense, as expected, rookie safety Deone Bucannon was essentially the second linebacker along with Larry Foote as the Cardinals used six defensive backs.

— Justin Bethel had a good start to camp and it’s easy to see why Bruce Arians has been impressed with his play. He is definitely coming along as a cornerback.

— That said, a play after Bethel won a battle with Michael Floyd, Floyd came right back and beat Bethel on the sideline. Floyd continues to look like a beast, using his big body to make plays. It will be interesting to see him in pads.

— CB Antonio Cromartie has a good day in his Cardinals’ camp debut.

— Injured safety Tyrann Mathieu came on to the field after practice was well underway, and was greeted with loud cheers from the fans as he crossed the sideline.

— Rookie wide receiver Walt Powell made an impressive full-speed fingertip grab of a Logan Thomas bomb and managed to keep his feet to complete the 60-or-so yard TD pass.

— The Cardinals worked on a lot of screens, and there is little question the plays will be in the arsenal for the tight ends this season if Arians chooses to dial them up.

— Thomas had his moments, good and bad, as has been his reputation. In one early drill with no defense, rookie tight end Troy Niklas didn’t get his head around on a Thomas bullet and the pass slammed against the side of Niklas’ head. On this first day, Thomas got almost all of the third-team reps as Ryan Lindley did a lot of watching.

— The Cardinals announced that about 10,000 fans showed up to the first day of practice at University of Phoenix Stadium.



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Posted in Blog | 15 Comments »

15 Responses to “First practice, first thoughts”

  1. By sbrown on Jul 26, 2014 | Reply

    in the nickle defense, as long as Foote and Bucannon can slow down the other teams TE’s, then this back end of this season Cards D, will be something special.

  2. By Scott H on Jul 26, 2014 | Reply

    AWESOME to hear that Floyd is looking beastly out there! I think I am going to LOVE this kid. After the last 3 years spent in WR hell, Fitz must be going to sleep with a smile on his face every night these days. He has a real QB again and once again has a REAL partner in crime at WR who will demand that defenses pay attention to him ( or pay the consequences ).

  3. By Iain on Jul 26, 2014 | Reply

    Dear Darren,

    One of the things that attracted me to American Football was that every team had the same amount of money to spend on players salaries, which can then emphasise the value of good coaching. I was wondering if there is a salary cap for coaching staff at all? Thanks.

    Best wishes,

  4. By Darren Urban on Jul 26, 2014 | Reply

    Iain —

    RE: Coaching $$

    There is not a salary cap for coaches. Only players.

  5. By josh on Jul 26, 2014 | Reply

    Darren, with the way Bucannon played (tackled) in college do you foresee the need for him to dial it back some or maybe even alter his style for fear of getting penalized in games?

  6. By Darren Urban on Jul 27, 2014 | Reply

    Josh —

    RE: Bucannon tackle

    Until I see him tackle myself, I don’t know. Right now, I’d say I’m not worried about it.

  7. By debeezy on Jul 27, 2014 | Reply

    @Scott H – Think you’re going to love this kid? 3 years in WR hell? Did you not watch anything from last season? Dude was a beast all year. Everyone already loves him, you’re a little late

  8. By Ron on Jul 27, 2014 | Reply

    Logan will look better in pads, in game situation using his size and mobility to create for himself as a runner and finding receivers wide open but as a pocket passer on timing routes he will look like most big arm QB’s that never had the skill to begin with.

  9. By Lenny on Jul 27, 2014 | Reply

    Any comment on John Brown? He put P2 on spin cycle and caught everything thrown at him. Can he win the third reciever spot?

    Logan had flashes of awesome and a terrible stretch where he threw three balls in a row into the dirt. Is there a way to keep three QB’s and one on the practice squad?

    We looked great yesterday compared to day one last year, if we stay healthy (including Cooper and Mathiue getting back to100%) we have a shot at play the SB at home.

  10. By Dave Chaney on Jul 27, 2014 | Reply

    I’m excited about the prospects of the offense this season with a year of coach’s system under their belts and the addition of some good players at key positions. They were looking more like a high powered offense toward the end of last season. That coupled with their ever improving defense looks like a great season on the horizon.

  11. By br in nc on Jul 27, 2014 | Reply

    Soon after drafting Bucannon (and DWash’s suspension came down) I posted about the possibility of him playing a hybrid linebacker since he had played some linebacker in college, I was grasping at ideas considering all options since our ILB core had been decimated with Los seeing $$$ and DWash seeing flying pink elephants, looks like the coaching staff saw something on film or minicamp that just might work, I have to admit though, I didnt really study many hours of film or get to see any minicamp, me posting that thought was more of a desparate “SWAG” (Scientific wild azz guess, without the “Scientific” part!! LOL!) Would be a dream come true if it turns out he and Foote can handle the passing downs, it would soften the blow of losing if not the best duo of ILB’s one of the best! BA & his coaching staff are pure Football geniuses, of course I realize 1 day of camp proves nothing, but they must have showed promise in minicamp as well, but as Darren says, wait until the pads are on, and then we will see. As far as Right side of O-line goes, I still believe Sowell will emerge from camp as #1 RT, and Fanaika will be tough for Watford to unseat, with those two manning the right side along with our best blocking TE always lining up on that side, we may be ok, but I’m willing to bet Cardinals are talking to Eric Winston, with Clabo off the market, Winston has alot more leverage, unless they wait until roster cuts, here is hoping Massie or Sowell steps up and one of them locks down RT and impresses enough that there will be no need to bring any RT’s in to camp late. As I stated before my money is on Sowell.

  12. By Dr. G. on Jul 27, 2014 | Reply

    br in nc – – In prior posts, Darren has commented that Winston may not be part of any Cards’ plans. The media has recently been talking about distractions for some players and how it can skew their commitment. I liked Winston on our team – he brought common sense and some leadership, not to mention serious size. But now that he holds the top position in the NFLPA, most GM’s may not want this ((perceived distraction, real or imagined)) in their clubhouse. Players would constantly approach him with questions. I’d like him as a d-line intern though…

    No team GM would ever state this as a concern to the media, but it will be subliminally noteworthy.

    As you detailed, the Cards are probably OK on the right side… Be well…

  13. By chrisgaer on Jul 27, 2014 | Reply

    Darren –

    Sometimes I read that players should practice hard regardless of their roster future in order to get the attention from other teams.

    The Cards are filming their practices to be able to analyze them and to coach. But i highly doubt that they will give that tape-material to other teams in order to help them recruiting.

    So why should i.e. Lindley go hard in practice for other teams? Just bc he will play better in the ps-games or are other teams indeed watching other teams players practice?

  14. By Darren Urban on Jul 27, 2014 | Reply

    Chrisgaer —

    RE: Lindley/practice

    Both. You are always trying to win a job where you are. You are right, practice video isn’t shared. But if you half-ass it you might not even play in games. Besides, coaches and front office people around the league talk. If you dog it, that word will get around.

  15. By Scott H on Jul 27, 2014 | Reply

    Debeezy –

    Yeah, thanks. I was referring to FITZ being in WR Hell for the 3 seasons that followed the departure of Kurt Warner. That did not include last season. And in doing so, I was clearly referring mostly to the distinguished cast of characters who played QB during that time. For that matter, ANY WR who played here during that time was in WR hell, wouldn’t you agree? Did YOU not watch anything from THOSE 3 miserable seasons??? I’m just assuming you did since something must have explained how the Cardinals went from being a division winner in 2008 & 2009 to falling right off the map…..

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