Skelton only has low ankle sprain, not ruled out

Posted by Darren Urban on September 10, 2012 – 11:40 am

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said this morning that the Cardinals got good news and that quarterback John Skelton not only doesn’t have a fracture but just a low ankle sprain, not the dreaded high ankle sprain. Because of that, Whisenhunt wouldn’t even rule Skelton out for New England Sunday. Whiz wouldn’t put any timetable on Skelton’s recovery, although he did say he does not expect to bring in another quarterback at this point. Asked about Skelton being the starter when he returns, Whisenhunt said “I don’t even know why that would be a question.”

Some other day-after notes:

— The shoulder injury to rookie cornerback Jamell Fleming is not serious. Cards hopeful he will be available against the Patriots.

— Ryan Williams started at running back because of the hamstring issues Beanie Wells had on Friday, which derailed what had been a good week of practice, Whisenhunt said. “There’s nothing more than that” to Williams as starter, Whisenhunt said.

— Whisenhunt said he was more comfortable with new tackles Bobby Massie and D’Anthony Batiste than he had been. “Those guys did a good job. We didn’t know anything about those guys in a regular-season NFL game. They fought. … We have to clean things from a running game perspective. But from the protection part of it, our line played well.”

— The running game obviously must get better. “When you are going against an eight-man front, which is how they played us, there will be some runs where you get one or two yards, then there are some where you break through and crease them. We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities on those runs. The(nine)-yard run Beanie had the one time. You have to have more of those. It wasn’t as much the running backs as much as one or two guys breaking down, not finishing blocks the right way. It’s a tight margin when there are eight guys up there. We have to be better.”

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A guess at the 53

Posted by Darren Urban on August 29, 2012 – 4:59 pm

Every NFL team must have it roster cuts in by Friday afternoon. To be exact, by 6 p.m. Arizona time. I expect the Cardinals – and coach Ken Whisenhunt – to have announced them before, since Whiz will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. that day. Until then, though, this is a guess at how this 53-man roster shakes out.

Whisenhunt made it clear the other day that this last preseason game does matter when it comes to a spot or two on the roster, and I believe that. It means trying to approximate who will be on the roster before that last game is somewhat fool’s gold. I’m certainly not Nostradamus here. Last year, for instance, I had Ben Graham holding off Dave Zastudil for the punter job. I was very wrong. And this only holds for as long as it might take for the Cards to claim/sign a guy or two over the weekend, which would obviously change things. That always happens.

But it’s fodder to chew on until Friday, speculation upon which this time of the NFL schedule is built around. So with apologies to those I miss on, and with a nod to old school Letterman, this is only an exhibition and not a competition, so please, no wagering.

QB – (3) John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley. No, we don’t know the starter yet. But it’s hard to believe that with everything Lindley has shown as a rookie he doesn’t get the nod over Rich Bartel (who is one of the best guys you’ll meet and someday will be a very good coach.)

RB – (4) Beanie Wells, Ryan Williams, LaRod Stephens-Howling, William Powell. This is one of the sticking points. Powell has had a good preseason, but as I have mentioned many times, I think Alfonso Smith has as well. It may come down to how Powell looks Thursday night. Will I be shocked if Smith is the choice instead of Powell? Nope.

FB – (1) Anthony Sherman. The Sherminator running unopposed. It’s like a boring political “race.”

WR – (6) Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts, Early Doucet, Michael Floyd, DeMarco Sampson, LaRon Byrd. This is a close one, in my mind. The top four are obvious. I think Sampson has had a good camp and he can play special teams. Byrd versus Stephen Williams may just be about Byrd’s upside. I’m not sure Byrd would make it to the practice squad but — given some other positional issues, like, at say, offensive line – I’m not sure either if the Cards may try and keep just five receivers and use the practice squad for relief.

TE – (4) Todd Heap, Jeff King, Rob Housler, Jim Dray. Given the injury history of, well, all of them, I think the Cards play it safe and keep four guys around again.

OL – (8) D’Anthony Batiste, Daryn Colledge, Lyle Sendlein, Adam Snyder, Bobby Massie, Rich Ohrnberger, Jeremy Bridges, Senio Kelemete. This is a very difficult one from the outside looking in. The Cards might keep nine linemen, given their . Has Kelemete shown enough, even as a draft pick? Would Nate Potter be possible given the tackle issues? Where might a free agent or waiver claim fit in? I could see Potter, D.J. Young and/or center Scott Wedige as practice squad material too.

DL (6) – Calais Campbell, Dan Williams, Darnell Dockett, Vonnie Holliday, David Carter, Nick Eason. Seems fairly cut and dried at this position, one of the few like that.

LB – (8) Sam Acho, Paris Lenon, Daryl Washington, O’Brien Schofield, Stewart Bradley, Reggie Walker, Clark Haggans, Brandon Williams. This is another spot that might come down to the Denver game. The backup outside linebacker spot figures to have two places for three guys: Haggans, Williams, Quentin Groves. Groves made some plays early. Williams plays some special teams and has been higher on the depth chart.

DB (10) – Patrick Peterson, William Gay, Adrian Wilson, Kerry Rhodes, Jamell Fleming, Justin Bethel, Rashad Johnson, James Sanders, Greg Toler, A.J. Jefferson. Usually, the Cards wouldn’t keep more than nine defensive backs, and that’s still possible. With 10, Bethel is a special teams keeper despite being a raw DB. Michael Adams is the odd man out there, but it will not shock me to see Adams stick around either and maybe someone like Jefferson out. Watching the reserve defensive backs closely in the finale, because I think that will be part of the equation.

ST – (3) Jay Feely (K), Dave Zastudil (P), Mike Leach (LS). Never should have doubted Leach’s return.

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Titans aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on August 23, 2012 – 10:39 pm

The story of the night tonight was John Skelton and Kevin Kolb, obviously. I think both players will still have their proponents and detractors, especially after adding in the offensive line issues. It sure feels like the game didn’t exactly clear up the picture, and it will be stunning now if a starter is named before the last preseason game.

But I am sure there will be much more QB talk, and I covered a lot of it in the game story. Besides, I’m quarterback-talked out. So here are some other things out of this game (which sometimes have to do with the QB, I will admit):

— The Cards wanted to take a look at D.J. Young at left tackle. Well, they looked, and it wasn’t pretty. They had to find out quickly if Young was viable. “That’s what you have to do,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said, although he acknowledged Young probably didn’t play well. “You want to look at the tape, but that’s the way it seemed.” The offensive line looked better with D’Anthony Batiste at left tackle and rookie Bobby Massie on the right. We’ll see if the Cards go in that direction.

— Beanie Wells looked just fine back on the field, with six carries. He only gained 12 yards, and some of that was on him and some on the line that just didn’t look good early. “Beanie looked like it was his first night out there,” Whisenhunt said.

“I still have rust to knock off,” Wells said. “I have to pick my legs up a little more. It’s one of the reasons I needed preseason. I always need the preseason. I haven’t played football since Dec. 24. But it’s progress.”

Wells was sporting the aerodynamic bald look now that he was back on the field. Well, at least I tried to give him that option. Nope. Just the reaction after he got a bad haircut two days ago. “I’ve already got a sensitive hairline, so …,” Wells said. “I’m gonna be thinning out pretty early”

— Larry Fitzgerald got five catches for 91 yards as he finally made an impact. Not that he was worried about it. “It’s just preseason,” Fitzgerald said. “We don’t gameplan.”

— Ryan Williams only had three carries but averaged five yards and Whiz was pleased with how he bounced back in game No. 2 for him. He certainly seems on pace to be ready when the bell sounds.

— Guard Daryn Colledge finally has an NFL reception (that’s him barreling through the defense below). And he’s converted 100 percent of his catches for first downs.

— Running back William Powell is leading the NFL is rushing this preseason. He had another 71 yards (on just seven carries) and has 231 yards on 33 carries (a 7.1 average) and three touchdowns. Yes, it’s against deep backups usually, but seven yards a carry is seven yards a carry. When you have the head coach bringing up your name, unprompted, in the postgame presser, that’s a good sign. It’s going to be a tough call between Powell and Alfonso Smith.

— Jamell Fleming saw some time at cornerback tonight with the first nickel package with William Gay playing the nickel role. Patrick Peterson didn’t have his best night, getting beat a couple of times by rookie receiver Kendall Wright. Defensively, though, the Cards were OK when turnovers weren’t putting them in bad spots. The Cards outgained the Titans, 410 yards to 217.

That’s it. It’s late and I have to be up in four hours to leave for the airport (no charter for me in the preseason, so …) Whiz will have an afternoon press conference tomorrow, and there’s a chance we will hear about most if not all of the initial cut from 90 to 75 players.

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Fleming and the secondary

Posted by Darren Urban on August 22, 2012 – 12:29 pm

Rookie Jamell Fleming isn’t going to go into a bunch of detail about his work at cornerback.

“I want to keep working hard I take pride in what I do,” Fleming said. “I want to be the best.”

Defensive coordinator Ray Horton had said he thought Fleming had hit a bit of a wall in camp. Fleming had looked good in OTAs and minicamp, so maybe a bit of a plateau was going to come. Fleming shrugged it off – “All rookies get a little wall in the way” he said. “You’ve got to push through it.” – and he certainly wasn’t bothered by the two questionable calls against him last game, one for hitting a defenseless receiver and the other for pass interference. Both calls certainly could have gone the other other way.

“Stuff is going to happen like that in the NFL, especially at corner,” Fleming said.

There is little question the third-round pick will be counted upon this season. The battle at defensive back has turned into the interesting story as expected, although I think the Cards would have liked more dynamic plays at this point to help separate people. I think right now, barring something odd, William Gay will stay as the other cornerback starter alongside Patrick Peterson. Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes are your safeties.

Then what?

At safety, veterans James Sanders and Rashad Johnson have been running as backups and special teamers, but now the Justin Bethel factor comes in. Bethel is getting some work at cornerback now as well as safety, but he will be on the roster because of special teams. Do they keep five safeties because of that? Could the Cards keep 10 instead of nine defensive backs? If so, that leaves five cornerbacks, or three to join Peterson and Gay. Fleming is on this team. So that leaves Greg Toler, Michael Adams, A.J. Jefferson and Crezdon Butler vying for two spots.

Fleming isn’t ready to step in across from Peterson, but he could end up as the nickel back.

“I think he is learning and growing, especially playing the nickel inside and playing this level of competition,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “It’ll ramp up quite a bit in the regular season. He has done a nice job from when he first came in as far as what was expected of him. He has been told he needs to get better at some things but I’ve been pleased with how he has progressed.”

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Raiders aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on August 18, 2012 – 12:31 am

Not only did the Cards win a game Friday night, but there was an awful lot going on beyond just an outcome. Some very, very good. Some potentially very bad. Whatever you want to say about Levi Brown, but if he is out for an extended period of time, it bodes poorly for the Cards. Coach Ken Whisenhunt has to look at the video, but asked specifically about tackles D’Anthony Batiste and D.J. Young after the game, the first things he thought of about both were plays on which they were beaten. Batiste, who started on the right side, would be a left tackle option. So would Jeremy Bridges. We’ll see.

— The Twitterverse was counting on the quarterback situation to be resolved tonight. Nope. Whiz made it clear he wants to see John Skelton in extended time in Tennessee first. Kevin Kolb started very well, but then it got worse. Some of that was blocking, some was field position, and I know many fans don’t care about that anymore.

— Center Lyle Sendlein was asked about the idea that Skelton seems to get a little better protection. It was awkward – I’m not sure he saw the question coming – but he answered it.

“I think it’s just pure chance,” Sendlein said. “It’s nothing done differently. We don’t block harder for one guy and not try as hard for the other guy. I think situationally we were backed up with Kevin a lot. With John we had some turnovers and short drives. It’s just pure chance.”

— Speaking of Kolb, Raiders defensive end Tommy Kelly took a shot at him after the game, calling Kolb “skittish” and “scared.” “He ain’t even trying to look at the routes no more.” Interesting analysis (although I’m not 100 percent sure how a lineman working hard getting to the QB can necessarily tell that on the field.) It’s a perception Kolb is going to be fighting going forward.

— With everything going on it felt like in my story I gave rookie Justin Bethel the short shrift. All he did was block a punt and return it for a touchdown and then block an extra point, giving him three blocked kicks this preseason already. He’s made the team. That seems a certainty.  My cohort Josh Weinfuss will have more on Bethel Sunday in a story he’s working on, but clearly, that kind of special teams production won’t be overlooked.

— Ryan Williams looked very good in his return. He took his hits, he broke off a 15-yard run, and he scored a touchdown – which, as usually happens, ended with Larry Fitzgerald making sure he got the ball. “I totally forgot about the football, because you’re not allowed to do that in college,” Williams said. “Larry grabbed me and hugged me and said, ‘I’m proud of you and I’m glad we got you back.’ ”

A great gesture. I am guessing the football from the first touchdown that counts will mean even more.

— Rookie CB Jamell Fleming had a rough night, with a unnecessary roughness call hitting a receiver (questionable) and a pass interference (questionable). But as questionable as they were, they still count against you.

— Safety Rashad Johnson was out of uniform by the time the game ended. Not sure if he got dinged or what the reason was.

— Raiders quarterback Matt Leinart’s return was cut short after he left needing stiches on a finger. He finished 5-for-8 for 66 yards. “It felt really good to be out there,” Leinart said. “It was kind of weird at first just to be back, but it felt good.”

— The first-team defense was much better. It needs to be. The turnovers were a good start. “We didn’t tackle well or play with any emotion (the first two games),” safety Kerry Rhodes said. “We wanted to come out here and be emotional, just play like a kid and have fun.”

OK, it’s late. Whiz said he hoped to have more info on Levi tomorrow (later today I guess, less than 12 hours).

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Chiefs aftermath

Posted by Darren Urban on August 10, 2012 – 11:41 pm

It was a little play, certainly not the end-all-be-all of the game. But the Cards had opened with one quick first down and thought they’d have another facing a third-and-1 on their opening drive. Alfonso Smith instead got snowed under for a two-yard loss.

The play was blocked wrong, coach Ken Whisenhunt said. In technical terms, the offense should have treated a safety in the box as a linebacker. It wasn’t an exact play the Cards had had a chance to run before, but the scheme was sound and the play generally had been practiced. “You’d like to think we are sharp enough we could make the adjustment because we talked about it,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s part of preseason but when there are enough of those, it becomes frustrating. Because you feel like you are a better team than you showed.”

In a nutshell, the Cards feel like they are better than they showed against the Chiefs. It didn’t matter in the final score, however, and it didn’t make some of the rough spots look any better. Larry Fitzgerald probably put it best:  “It wasn’t pretty today by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t know what it is but we have to get it fixed and get it fixed pretty quickly.”

— It did look like John Skelton felt comfortable but in the end, there wasn’t much to show for his start. For a moment, it looked like the interception might be a completion to Fitz. There isn’t much difference between good and bad, however. Kevin Kolb also probably should have had better numbers, but the protection broke down once or twice. It doesn’t feel like either man has separated in this race.

— Ryan Lindley did a nice job on the last 30 seconds before the half and led a touchdown drive. I like the kid and he’s going in the right direction. But let’s not crown anyone yet. Lindley’s development isn’t going to go any faster even if fans think he’s better than the top two guys. We can argue about it being too early for the veterans as we go. For a rookie sixth-round quarterback, it’s way too early.

— The starting defense didn’t do well. They know.” It can look a certain way right now,” safety Kerry Rhodes said, and that way is bad. But there didn’t seem to be a concern by anyone on that side of the ball. “There will be a difference when we gameplan,” Rhodes said. The first drive was tough, though. Better tackling, but the Chiefs just kept getting first downs. Got to get off the field.

— Here’s why you get gun-shy about making grand pronouncements. LaRon Byrd had a good game – even Whisenhunt said so – and his three catches for 33 yards, all at the end of the first half, got the Cards a field goal. Good stuff, right? Sort of. Whisenhunt said Byrd was supposed to run a diagonal and would have been open in the flat but ran the wrong route and “left our quarterback out to dry.”

“You see the big plays and you think he has a good game but one of the small things happens and the quarterback keeps the ball in his hand because he’s looking to throw and LeRon isn’t there,” Whisenhunt said.

— Along those same lines, Skelton admitted he called the wrong play in the huddle on his first drive. For an offense fighting to execute as it is, mental errors are killers.

— William Powell had his 29-carry game last year in the preseason, and 92 yards rushing (on nine carries) Friday night. He broke 100 all-purpose yards including his nine-yard reception. Even without a 67-yarder by Powell, the Cards still ran for 86 yards on 23 carries, which wasn’t bad.

— Rookie cornerback Jamell Fleming made a nice play to tackle a running back for a loss and also broke up a pass that ended up being intercepted by teammate Rashad Johnson. That’s a plus.

— Adrian Wilson absolutely lit up Chiefs receiver Terrance Copper on an incompletion early in the game. Wilson lowered the boom, but – correctly, I think – no flag was thrown because Wilson used his shoulder, went into Copper’s chest and didn’t leave his feet. He did, however, probably leave a mark. Hopefully the league sees it as clean too.

— Whiz didn’t want it to be an excuse, but it did seem like the Cards were like an NBA team at the end of a long road trip, out of gas. Don’t know if that was true or not, but the vibe was there.

— Finally, Ryan Williams did not play. Not a surprise. He and Beanie did dress for warmups though. They are getting closer.

This trip is over. Time to fly home tomorrow (later today?) and get back to some normalcy.

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Friday before the Hall of Fame game

Posted by Darren Urban on August 3, 2012 – 5:09 pm

It’s time to go to Canton.

From the day it was announced back in February, the Cardinals have looked forward to this weekend. As usual, it seems both that training camp just started and that camp has been going on for weeks rather than less than two. But the games are here, as the Cards and Saints begin the NFL preseason schedule Sunday night at 8 p.m. in Ohio (5 p.m. in Arizona). It’s an extra game. That’s good and bad. One more chance for guys to get hurt, one more chance to spread around some playing time.

Watching the quarterbacks will be interesting but not definitive – I mean, I guess it could be definitive depending on what happens, but that’ll only happen with an injury – because I would like to see both Kevin Kolb and John Skelton in a game to see if it looks much different. They spent the offseason working on fundamentals, and with Kolb in particular, he’s had his time to prep that he didn’t get last year.

Another thing I want to see is just how much attention the NFL Network pays to the Cardinals. The Saints have had one mess of an offseason. Hopefully that’s not all the crew talks about.

— Coach Ken Whisenhunt will have to juggle his running backs. Beanie Wells is still on the PUP list. Whisenhunt officially said Ryan Williams won’t play, although that seemed likely all week with Williams taking a couple of days off from practice to rest his rehabbed right leg. Javarris James has his abductor strain, and William Powell got hurt in the night practice Wednesday – something in his leg, I believe, although I wasn’t able to find out exactly what – and I would think is unlikely to play. That leaves LaRod Stephens-Howling, Alfonso Smith and newcomer Thomas Clayton (who barely was able to practice.) Maybe the Sherminator will be unleashed.

— Speaking of not playing, I don’t expect safety Adrian Wilson to go with his calf injury. It’s minor, but again, five preseason games. The first means nothing. (Besides, how many series will the starters play? Two at the most? What would Wilson really be missing?)

— It’s time to break in the newcomers. Wide receiver Michael Floyd is obvious, and so is cornerback Jamell Fleming. But drafted offensive linemen Bobby Massie at right tackle and Senio Kelemete are important. Those guys are supposed to be on the roster and be able to play if there is an injury (and Massie, in theory, could still start). This is the first test. Massie has looked better as camp has gone on. I’ll be honest, I haven’t watched Kelemete much yet.

— There won’t be gameplanning, but I remember how Aaron Rodgers ripped up the defense in the preseason last year. That was early, early, early in the defense’s understanding of the scheme. Now they get Drew Brees (even if it might only be a series). Let’s see how the Cards handle a high-powered passing attack.

— Individually, the passing would play well toward the Cards’ cornerback battle, right?

— If you don’t get NFL Network, the game will be televised locally in Phoenix on Ch. 5 KPHO.

— I’ll be with the team Saturday night when they get a private tour of the Hall of Fame, and we will have a story sometime before the game. This should be a pretty cool trip.

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The first depth chart

Posted by Darren Urban on July 30, 2012 – 9:22 am

The Cardinals put out their first official depth chart of the season today. This stuff is fluid given certain competitions, but they have to make someone No. 1 and No. 2 and so on. There are no shocking developments, but:

— Kevin Kolb is listed as the No. 1 QB right now. John Skelton is the No. 2.

— Jeremy Bridges is the No. 1 right tackle over Bobby Massie, and as I have said many many many times, I expect that to be the case for a while.

— With Jeff King still rehabbing his quad, Todd Heap is the No. 1 tight end, Rob Housler No. 2.

— Behind Fitz is DeMarco Sampson and then Stephen Williams. At the other receiver spot, it officially goes Andre Roberts, then Early Doucet, then Michael Floyd.

— William Gay is the No. 1 right cornerback across from Patrick Peterson. Greg Toler is listed as Gay’s backup, with Michael Adams listed as Peterson’s backup.

— Brandon Williams is Sam Acho’s backup, with Clark Haggans as O’Brien Schofield’s backup at OLB. Quentin Groves is behind Haggans.

— With the large roster, the only second team rookies (no starters) are LG Senio Kelemete, FB Jared Crank and Massie. (And the Cards are incredibly unlikely to keep two fullbacks.) T Nate Potter is third-string, Floyd is third-string, S Justin Bethel is third-string and, with the large amount of veteran cornerbacks, Jamell Fleming is technically fourth-string behind Gay, Toler and A.J. Jefferson (although he will be on this roster, no doubt.)

Here is the entire depth chart.

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Thoughts in the wake of Red-White

Posted by Darren Urban on July 28, 2012 – 9:35 pm

The first week is over, and what stuck with me after today’s Red-White practice (while I thought about it on my drive home to see the family) was John Skelton’s comment that there was a long way to go. Cliche, sure. But it’s truth. Take away walkthroughs, which are limited in their value, and the Cards had exactly three practices before today. Did the offense or the quarterbacks wow today? No. But we’re a week away from the first of five preseason games. There’s a long, long way to go.

— I know everyone wants to make assessments of Skelton and Kevin Kolb after today. Coach Ken Whisenhunt even said Friday he expected that to happen. But Whiz also said today there would be no snap judgements. He talked about dropped passes, about missed assignments. Bottom line, and I’m sure I’m sounding like a broken record, but this will come down to preseason games. Something tells me no one is going to reference Red-White whenever the regular-season starter is named.

— I thought Michael Floyd looked pretty good today. It’s early, but that would be nice to have him emerge. He made a couple of catches and you can see why his big body works in tight coverage, blocking out the defensive back.

— Cornerback A.J. Jefferson got a lot of action today. He gave up some catches but made some other plays. He’s intriguing. He’s kind of been lost in the CB discussion with William Gay signing and Greg Toler coming back and Jamell Fleming getting drafted.

— With the NFL in the middle of using replacement officials while contract negotiations go on with the regular officials, one possible replacement would be a woman, who was working today’s Red-White practice. I didn’t get her name, but Mike Jurecki got a picture.

— The abductor injury to running back Javarris James could cause some roster movement. It’s not that I thought James necessarily was going to make the roster, but James now won’t play against the Saints in all probability, and Beanie Wells was already going to miss that game. I’m not sure they’d want to use Ryan Williams either, given their desire to be conservative. So that leaves just LaRod Stephens-Howling, Alfonso Smith and William Powell. Not that Powell can’t do it — remember, when the Cards lost Williams and wanted to protect Wells last year, Powell had an astounding 29 carries in the final preseason game (and then was cut the next day.)

— A crowd of 14,500. Simply amazing. I ran into former Cardinals wide receiver and kickoff returner MarTay Jenkins (1999-2002) who looked over the throng for autographs and said, “Damn, it was never like this for us!” Which I can say since I was covering the team back then, it wasn’t.

— Finally, there seemed to be a difference of opinion between Williams and Patrick Peterson about whether Peterson would have made the tackle on Williams during his 44-yard run. I managed to get a shot of the moment of contact. You make the call.

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Missing rookies no longer an issue

Posted by Darren Urban on June 15, 2012 – 10:45 am

Once, the end of offseason work for the Cardinals wasn’t just a beginning but a much bigger deal, specifically when coach Dennis Green used it in his first season as a time to announce his starting lineup for the season. (That was a crazy time. It really was.)

Now, coach Ken Whisenhunt emphasizes competition and ongoing competition. Nothing up for grabs was going to be settled in a month’s worth of work in May and June. But there was one thing settled that is a significant step for the Cardinals — every draft pick was signed before the work ended. Michael Floyd and Jamell Fleming (below) signed on the dotted line, and just like that, a headache that had shrunk in recent years (yet still existed) was gone.

It’ll be league-wide, and it’s thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement. No longer will players be holding out. I’ve never thought, if a player missed a day or two of camp, it was a huge deal, but looking at the last 10 years and the number of picks that have missed at least some time in camp, this is a welcome change:

— 2011 Patrick Peterson, missed 1 day

— 2010 Dan Williams, 3 days

— 2009 Beanie Wells, 3 days

— 2008 Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, 2 days

— 2007 Levi Brown, 6 days

— 2006 Matt Leinart, 15 days

— 2005 Antrel Rolle, 8 days

— 2004 Larry Fitzgerald, 1 day

— 2003 Calvin Pace, 3 days; Bryant Johnson 4 days

— 2002 Wendell Bryant, all of training camp and two weeks of the regular season

“Knowing the first day of training camp you will have everyone there is a big deal,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “When they miss those first couple of days, it seems like they are always playing catch-up. It’s good we had all our guys here. It’ll be good to have everyone there from Day One. It’s great that our organization, (president) Michael (Bidwill) and (general manager) Rod (Graves), have been so proactive.”

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