One of the keys to the summer workouts — like today’s organized team activity, for instance — is to make sure the focus stays put even late in the week, when the guys are ready to blast out of town for a long weekend. So it helps to have something on the line. The Cards had their intensity at the end today when coach Ken Whisenhunt pitted offense versus defense in third-down situations. The “winner” — whichever unit did its job more often — got out of running.
So there was whooping and hollering from the defense when cornerback Greg Toler broke up the first Matt Leinart-to-Larry Fitzgerald pass. And there was the same from the offense when Fitz made a wonderful one-handed grab on the sideline. There was a lot of arguing when a first down pass from Derek Anderson to Early Doucet might have come after a “sack” of Anderson. And there was an explosion of happiness from the red shirts when Money Mike Adams broke up the final pass to Andre Roberts. The coaches from the offense had to run too, which made it even more interesting.
“From the chemistry standpoint, it shows how quickly it is building with the team,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “Guys are getting along. They’ve already put in eight or nine weeks and I think when they get on the field and are able to do football things, there is always a lot of excitement. I said (to the team) today, the question is can we sustain this over the next three weeks. Based on what I have seen, it looks that way. The tempo, the enthusiasm is good. Guys are competing. If that becomes our nature, then this will have been very productive for us in the long run.”
Other stuff from today:
— Among the other plays that stood out were a beautiful 40-or-so-yard bomb from Anderson to Doucet over Justin Miller and a John Skelton 20-yard lob into the outstretched hands of 6-foot-5 WR Darren Mougey in between double coverage by Miller and Herana-Daze Jones. After the latter play, the air was filled with yelps of “MOO-gee.”
— At one point early in the practice, WR Ed Gant made a catch as he headed for the sideline. He gained control and sprinted upfield to finish the play — even as he was about three yards out of bounds on the field closest to the team headquarters. “We playing on an expanded field?” linebacker Monty Beisel said, turning to Gant and adding, “Watch out for the building!”
— Former University of Arizona football coach Dick Tomey — whose son, Rich, works for the team in business development — was on hand to watch practice.
— Rookie nose tackle Dan Williams continues to work with the first-team dime unit.
— Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett was clearly exasperated that his latest back-and-forth with 49ers tight end Vernon Davis caused a stir in some places, enough so that he put out this tweet right after practice: “Lol look people me and @VernonDavis85 are cool and been friends B4 the NFL and we will be after the NFL so yall stop taking shhh so serious.”
— WR Steve Breaston was sporting some very red gloves again and I figured there had to be a reason. An ability to get the attention of the quarterback easier, perhaps? Nope. Turns out that he got them from Adams. “I wore them a lot last year,” Breaston said, unsure why I was the third or fourth person to notice them today. “Maybe it’s because they’re clean.”
Tags: Andre Roberts, Dan Williams, Darnell Dockett, Darren Mougey, Derek Anderson, Dick Tomey, Early Doucet, Ed Gant, Herana-Daze Jones, John Skelton, Justin Miller, Ken Whisenhunt, Larry Fitzgerald, Matt Leinart, Monty Beisel, Steve Breaston
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The Cardinals signed five more players to “future” contracts (which just means they don’t officially kick in until the end of the season), including tight end Dominique Byrd — who actually was on the roster this season, inactive for the first 10 games before being released Nov. 24. The Cards are also bringing back fullback Reagan Maui’a, the “Juggernaut” (there’s a little language at the end of the video, FYI) who was with the team in the preseason, along with cornerback Trumaine McBride, safety Herana-Daze Jones and defensive lineman Dean Muhtadi.
McBride isn’t big (5-foot-9) but the former Bear did start nine games in 2007. Jones (whose first name is pronounced “Hernandez”) has played in 30 games since 2006 with the Bengals, Broncos, Patriots and Saints. Muhtadi was an undrafted rookie at Green Bay’s camp this past season.
It’s intriguing that the Cards still want to look at Byrd. He definitely has receiving skills although his blocking isn’t where the Cards would like it. The team will need another tight end going into the offseason, but the future is up in the air for Anthony Becht. Becht is not only a free agent, but it’s possible he’s looking at retiring after a decade in the NFL. Byrd already had shown enough to the Cards for them to keep him half a season.
Tags: Dean Muhtadi, Dominique Byrd, Herana-Daze Jones, Reagan Maui'a, Trumaine McBride
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