The first week of organized team activities concluded this afternoon in Arizona and the good news is that there aren't any new injuries and there weren't any surprise absences. The reports that come out of OTAs need to be taken with a grain of salt but I'll pass them along anyways.
- Steve Breaston seems to be the shining star so far after three practices. He'd carried the momentum from a solid mini-camp shortly after the draft. After a rookie season in which he made a name for himself as a returner he definitely made it a point this off season to improve as a receiver. He's making sure that Early Doucet will have to do more than simply show up to get the #3 job.
- Coach Whisenhunt stated that he has been in contact with both Anquan Boldin and Darnell Dockett but that he doesn't expect them in for OTAs anytime soon. This isn't as bad as it sounds though. Sure it would be nice to have two veteran players in town, mentoring the youngsters but with them gone right now, Doucet and Calais Campbell are getting considerably more snaps than they would have. Doucet is taking snaps with the second group and Campbell is taking snaps with the first and second defense.
- Offensive line coach Russ Grimm found an interesting way to get around the NFL's 'no contact' policy for OTAs by doing one on one offensive lineman drills with a tackling dummy between the guys. Not sure if he did this during his days with the Steelers but it's definitely a way to keep things from getting monotonous.
- There's also a 'feel good' article on Antrel Rolle's new job at free safety and how he's moving to a more natural position for his skill set. The good news for Rolle is that he's following up Terrence Holt, who did a great job of underwhelming everyone last year, so the bar is set pretty low. There's an odd about Rolle possibly playing safety on first and second down then switching to corner back to cover slot receivers in the nickel defense. I don't really see the point in 'flip-flopping' him like this because he can't focus on being a great safety if he's playing a third of his time at corner. Oh well, there's still a couple of months before we'll see if that'll work. Hopefully DRC can step up and lock down the #3 job with a close eye on Eric Green's job.
- There's also an encouraging story from the Cardinals official site about rookie Tim Hightower. It's encouraging in that the coaching staff has relatively high expectations of him for a guy who was a fifth round pick and is supposedly buried on the depth chart (4th in line). It sounds like they expect him to move up the depth chart and have a legit role for this team in 2008. That could be bad news for veterans Marcel Shipp and JJ Arrington.
- The streak of seven practices without a turnover ended today though as a pass from Matt Leinart was tipped by Gerald Hayes and intercepted by Clark Haggans. Coach Whisenhunt has said a couple times though that Leinart looks much better now than he did this time last year, which is great news for the Cardinals. Hopefully a full season and off season under the new system will make light years of difference for Matt.
All in all, not a bad first week. We've heard good things about several of the young guys, both quarterbacks have looked good and the team as a whole looked sharp which led to crisp practices. It's way too early for any of this to mean much, but it's still good to hear that is sounds like the Arizona Cardinals are buying into what Whisenhunt is preaching. Thoughts? Has anyone been able to watch any practices?