With one week of camp in the books, there have been some encouraging news from both young and veteran players, but injuries are starting to mount and could quickly become a concern. It's still early and there is a full month before the regular season starts, so it's too early to hit the panic button but it's something worth keeping an eye on.
Injuries Mount for Centers: Yesterday we learned that starting center, Al Johnson, left camp to get his ailing knee checked out. There hasn't been any news released on the status of that knee yet, but yesterday another center went down. With Lyle Sendlein moving into the starting role, the new backup is Scott Peters. Peters,a former fourth round pick out of Arizona State, went down in pain yesterday and had to be carted off the field. The extent of his injury isn't known yet but if it's anything serious, the backup center would probably be undrafted rookie, Hercules Satele. Depending on the severity of Johnson's and Peters injuries, the Cardinals could be in the market for a veteran center.
Other Injury News: There aren't any other significant injuries to report but there are a couple small ones. Clark Haggans didn't practice yesterday but he didn't appear to have an injury so it could just be a case of a older veteran getting a rest. Rookie fullback, Dionte Johnson also had a walking boot on his foot. The extent of the injury isn't known because Whisenhunt didn't meet with the media yesterday. For Johnson though, any significant injury would probably seal his fate with the Cards. It's hard enough for an undrafted free agent to make the an impact and missing an extended amount of time is normally a precursor to being cut. Another undrafted rookie, Keilen Dykes, returned to the practice field on Thursday.
New Offensive Tackle: I was hopeful that Thaddeus Coleman would be a promising prospect and that Russ Grimm would be able to mold him into a serious player, but it wasn't meant to be. Coleman was released yesterday to make room for veteran tackle, Kelly Butler. Bulter (6'7 320, 26 years old) was a sixth round pick by the Detroit Lions in 2003 and he's had 21 career starts, although he didn't appear in a single game last year. It'll be interesting to see if Butler is the veteran tackle that the Cardinals have been looking for or if they'll continue to wait for another veteran to be cut.
Other Random Camp Notes:
- Don't forget the name Lance Long. Every single practice is highlighted by him making a spectacular catch and his name is starting to get mentioned on a daily basis. Darren Urban even said that he hasn't seen him drop a single pass so far during camp. If he can perform as well during the preseason, he'll make a serious push for a roster spot.
- Starting cornerback, Eric Green missed practice yesterday for personal reasons and starting in his place was Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. DRC had a good practice in which he broke up a deep pass intended for Fitz and had another interception. It's still clear that he's raw but there's no doubt about potential.
- Seventh round pick Brandon Keith has been getting some pretty good praise from the coaching staff the past couple of days. He's been playing primarily at right tackle but Whiz has said that he's got the ability to play both tackles and could also slide inside to guard. They won't likely throw all of the positions at him at once but they're encouraged by his quick feet, especially since dropping 25 pounds from the time he was drafted. Keith's best practice was Wednesday when he held his own on multiple drills against pass rush specialist, Chike Okeafor.