Monday afternoon the Arizona Cardinals took the field for another day of practice for training camp. It was the first such practice for first round draft pick Jonathan Cooper, and he stepped right in as the starting left guard. I also was there to see practice. Here is what stood out to me this time:
1. As already noted, there are a few injuries on the team, but fortunately, none of them seems to be serious. Tight end Jeff King was absent, as was tight end Mickey Shuler, who was recently claimed off of waivers. Several other players were present, but did not participate. Those included running back Ryan Williams, guard Daryn Colledge, linebacker Jasper Brinkley, tight end/long snapper Alex Gottlieb and receiver Robert Gill.
2. We got our first look at players who could be in the mix for the kickoff return job. Patrick Peterson, Jerraud Powers, Javier Arenas, Andre Roberts, Andre Ellington, Antoine Cason and Charles Hawins all took turns receiving kicks. Arenas was the only one I saw muff a catch.
3. Matt Shaughnessy stood out to me in individual drills. He obviously has the eyes of the coaches, as he is one of the OLBs in the first team nickel group, but he manhandled several players in one-on-one work.
4. Jerraud Powers and Javier Arenas, two of the cornerbacks acquired this offseason, made plays on the ball on defense. Covering Larry Fitzgerald, both kept tight coverage and broke up passes.
5. Michael Floyd continues to stand out. He made one catch with two defenders on him that was quite impressive.
6. Kevin Minter got a lot of work. With Brinkley out, he worked with both the first and second team base packages.
7. For the second practice in a row, there were reps in a dime package (six defensive backs). Under defensive coordinator Ray Horton, I do not ever recall seeing six DBs. Tyrann Mathieu was the dime corner. In comparison, while Horton ran a lot of nickel, previous DC Billy Davis did not. In 2010, the team ran a total of five plays in nickel. They played dime for their passing defense (which they did over 36 percent of the time).
8. The timing of the passing game looked better. On Friday and Saturday, even in simple route drills with no defenders, there were many missed passes. Logically, now with more reps, those timing routes look better.
9. With Jasper Brinkley out, Reggie Walker got the first team reps in the nickel package with Karlos Dansby. Head coach Bruce Arians said earlier in the day that Walker had a great spring and is having a very good camp. With a roster exemption coming for the first four weeks of the season because of the Darryl Washington suspension, Walker looks like he is a lock for the roster right now.
10. Practice ended 30 minutes early. Ken Whisenhunt rarely ended practice that early. He would typically take the team on an outing like the movies or bowling instead of practicing on the last day of camp, but when they did practice, it would go pretty close to what was scheduled. Arians has physical practices, but he closed up shop early,at least today.
Programming note: I will be returning to my real world job on Tuesday, so I only have two more days of attending camp -- this Friday and Saturday. But can you believe that the first preseason game will be a week from Friday? Crazy! We will keep the coverage, but it will not be from actual practice, unless we get a writer in the stands. No firsthand "insider" stuff until the weekend.
More from Revenge of the Birds:
- NFL training camp: Drew Stanton sometimes is Carson Palmer's filter
- NFL training camp: Bruce Arians unhappy with Arizona Cardinals offensive line
- Arizona Cardinals rookie Jonathan Cooper still a starter despite holdout, is 'better than advertised'
- NFL training camp 2013: Ryan Lindley making progress, compared to Kelly Holcomb
- NFL Network covering Arizona Cardinals training camp Tuesday
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