The first Arizona Cardinals mini-camp of 2009 is officially in the rear view mirror. The weekend was eventful with a Fan Fest that attracted record crowds (that even required security?) and some 'seasonal injuries' that raised some eye brows. Here's a wrap-up of the weekend (with audio, thanks to KTAR) and a look ahead.
- The biggest story line of the weekend centered around the 'injured' hamstrings of Anquan Boldin and Darnell Dockett, but Whiz isn't worried about them. He said that he hasn't reviewed their MRI's but called the injuries, seasonal injuries. It's very likely that we won't see either Q or DD at any OTA's over the summer and we'll start the countdown clock to see if they report to training camp on time (Boldin says it's too early to know what he'll do).
- Chris "Beanie" Wells was certainly a head-liner at practice this weekend not only because he's the first round pick and possible future at running back, but also because he'll miss most, if not all, of the team's OTA's. The challenge for him won't be maintaining his physical conditioning, but instead learning the plays and mental side of the game.
- Kurt Warner surprised some by being able to work in 7-on-7 drills over the weekend. He's ahead of the recovery schedule but the coaches have had to work to hold him back from over doing it too early. It sounds like he should have no problem being 100% by training camp.
- One of most wide open position battles of the summer will be the tight end spot and although there was no word on who was actually running with the first group this weekend, I'm sure we'll see quite a rotation throughout OTA's and training camp. Despite being one of the newest guys on the block, Anthony Becht thinks that his prowess as a blocker might give him a leg up on the starting job.
- There were some surprises on the offensive line where Herman Johnson (who tipped the scales at 370 this weekend) was lining up at right tackle with the third team. The coaches still say they'll work him at both guard and tackle but they wanted to try him at tackle first because he looked 'natural' at the position. His eventual home could possibly depend a great deal on his weight as I highly doubt he can handle speed rushers on the outside if he's anywhere north of 350.
- Last year's promising seventh round pick, Brandon Keith, spent the weekend lining up at right guard with the second team. Most still expect him to move to tackle at some point in the future but I wouldn't be surprised if he's at guard to challenge Lutui for a starting spot this season.
- Oliver Ross, who was signed right before the weekend started was running with the second team at right tackle which could very well be a serious indictment of the Cardinals depth at tackle. Elliot Vallejo was the second team left tackle.
- On the defensive line, Gabe Watson is still recovering from a second surgery on his knee, although he's expected to recover much quicker this time, so he watched from the sidelines. That left Bryan Robinson as the starting nose tackle with Branch running with the second team. The rest of the defensive line was Docket and Campbell as the starters at defensive end with Iwebema and Keilen Dykes (keep an eye on him) backing them up, respectively.
The Cardinals won't take the field again until May 19-21st, which kicks off 14 days of OTA's, and those practices should have much less drama, since we don't expect to see Boldin or Dockett. It'll be interesting to see if some other 'fringe contract' guys like Karlos Dansby and Adrian Wilson miss any days. Until then we'll continue to look ahead and cover every last, little detail. Anyone make it out to Fan Fest this weekend? Anyone surprised about the two deep on the offensive and defensive lines?