The Cardinals are currently halfway through the first week of the offseason workouts and if you asked Ken Whisenhunt how the first two days went, he'd call it a success.
Darren Urban reported that the Cardinals had 57 of the 61 players signed to the roster in attendence for the voluntary workouts - definitely a good turnout. Larry Fitzgerald is currently traveling through India(just as he usually does in the offseason), but is expected to be in attendance once he returns. Darnell Dockettwill workout on his own as usual, but reportedly will be with the team next week. Alan Branch and Anthony Becht didn't attend for unknown reasons. Coaches have shown displeasure with Branch not attending in the past so I'm a bit confused as to why he hasn't shown up.
Voluntary offseason workouts of have been very important to head coach Ken Whisenhunt in the past. He's generally had a great turnout the last three seasons and it's been even better this year - better then the group coming off '08's Super Bowl run last offseason.
Whisenhunt has always believed that the strength of the team is built through the offseason workouts. If you believe in the saying, "A team that lives together, dies together", then you'd understand where he's coming from. Whisenhunt also picks days during training camp to take the entire team to see a movie, and also go bowling. Events such as these could account to the success that the team has experienced in just the three short seasons Whisenhunt has been in Arizona.
Although times have changed and in just one short offseason, the Cardinals look like a different team on paper. Kent Somers expressed the odd feeling as he visited the Cardinals locker room:
Indeed, it should be an eerie feeling considering Warner, Boldin, Dansby, Rolle, and even Berry were all pivotal pieces in the locker room that led to the success on the field the last 4-5 seasons. Nonetheless, the front office brought in/and traded for key replacements that are sure to keep the momentum going in Arizona.
The players that have attended appear to be committed and ready to improve under the tutelage of the great strength and conditioning John Lott. Matt Leinart has been throwing passes on the practice field while Beanie Wells and Adrian Wilson have been running speed drills - not to mention running up Camelback mountain.
Although, the coaches know that the players do get bored and in order to keep their attention, coach Lott incorporates plyometric excercises into his workouts, exercises that are often used for basketball players. The offseason is still fresh, but if the early success is any indication of how the regular season will fare, the Cardinals have much to look forward to. Player quotes so far this week are after the jump...
What They're Saying
Jeremy Bridges on why offensive lineman attend offseason workouts:
"First of all, we're cheap," he said. "We never have a lot of guys working out with trainers. We're not trying to build beach bodies. Workout bonuses are very important so to be here for six weeks in a workout program, I think it's very important."
Kerry Rhodes talks offseason:
"You have a little time off and it is just a little time off," Rhodes said. "But when you come back, football is right around the corner. It seems like a long way now but in a minute it’ll be July and training camp. This is the time when you develop the relationships and the chemistry."
Ken Whisenhunt on why he believes in team participation:
"When you think about when you're tired, when you're banged up, when you're sore, when it's the fourth quarter and the game is on the line, you always feel more comfortable when you're doing it with a guy you know who has been making the same sacrifices you have," Whisenhunt said. "There is a bond of trust, there is a bond of accountability."
Leinart talks about the start of workouts:
"It officially starts today. The season doesn’t begin in August," Leinart said. "It begins in March and April."
Adrian Wilson talks Leinart:
"We’re not trying to camouflage the whole Kurt (Warner) situation," Wilson said. "It’s Matt’s team now and we’re all going to be behind him."
Leinart talks Leinart:
"I want to show I am ready to be the leader, that the guys can count on me," he said. "And I am going to step into the role where I hold guys accountable as well. They need to know I am going to out here working, and they are too. A lot of eyes are on me and I get that. But for me, I don't want to do too much. I want to be me and work hard.""
Leinart talks Joey Porter:
"Obviously people will talk about some of the stuff off the field, and I don’t know him – I met him for the first time today – but I think he’ll be a great leader in this locker room," Leinart said. "He’s going t be great for this team because he brings the passion for the game and you can tell."
Adrian Wilson on his effect on other players:
"If I’m here, they’re here – as you can see," Wilson said, a grin crawling across his face.
Kerry Rhodes on the importance of attending offseason workouts:
"It’s voluntary, so to speak," new safety Kerry Rhodes said. "But if you’re not here, people notice. Not even just coaches, players see when other guys aren’t here, and some guys take that a certain way. This is when you set a direction as a team. That’s why it’s important."