FLAGSTAFF, AZ - JULY 30: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals signs autographs for fans following the team training camp at Northern Arizona University on July 30, 2011 in Flagstaff, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
As Flagstaff training camp practices began for the first time this year, the first thing that anyone could notice was the crowd. It was a large one. I cannot compare it to previous years because it was the first such outside practice I have attended in Flagstaff. My only other training camp visit was last year for the Red and White practice that was taken into the Walkup Skydome due to weather.
Even still, hit the jump to see a few of the observations I made while there with my two sons.
Now, the missing players are simply the result of the CBA not being complete and having a rule that any non-rookie that signs a new deal or reworks a current one cannot practice until August 4. As such, we had Kevin Kolb's first workout stolen from us. Not only Kolb, but it meant that no Chansi Stuckey, Daryn Colledge, Brandon Keith, Early Doucet or anyone else that just signed.
Other than Larry Fitzgerald, with it being the first practice of the year, there was a little bit of rustiness and sloppiness. In punt drills, there were several muffs, including two consecutive by Andre Roberts. The quarterbacks were on and off, and several people slipped when trying to make cuts.
I saw no one get hurt. This is perhaps the most important thing in camp and the preseason -- trying to keep players healthy. It did not appear that any injuries at all took place.
I know there was limited contact, but Beanie Wells looked good on several runs. LaRod Stephens-Howling had a few plays that got oohs and awes from the crowd. Even Alfonso Smith looked good, although he would tell you he looks good all the time and show you some modeling photos. I refer to the running.
Player fan support:
Jay Feely spent at least a half hour signing things, taking pictures and talking with the fans. Larry Fitzgerald was mobbed and stayed around signing things for at least 45 minutes. Kevin Kolb signed things and talked to the fans. (He even gave my son his hand towel -- way cool for a nine-year old.) It was nice to see the players respond to the fans, especially after the lockout, on the first day of camp.