After four weeks and fourteen organized team activities (a.k.a practices), the Cardinals are going their separate ways for a little over a month. Rookies will stay in town until July 3rd to continue to work out at team facilities but veterans have likely already left town. By all accounts, those who were present got some solid work in and the team, as a whole, is miles ahead of where it was one year ago. Coach Whisenhunt is pleased with where the team is and, like most of us, is looking forward to training camp and the start of the season:
“When we get started in training camp, we’ll be so much further ahead than we were,” Whisenhunt said. “Hopefully that will make us a better football team earlier and we can have a better start (to the season), which for our football team is critical.”
Training camp should be headlined by several story lines:
QB Battle/Competition: Matt's been named the starter and everywhere you look (here, here and here just to name a few) there's a story about how hard he's worked this offseason and how much sharper and more dedicated he looks compared to last year. Whisenhunt is quick to point out that Leinart is his #1 QB but that is almost always followed up with something like "but Kurt is lurking right behind him." He won't rule out a shuffling QB system as we saw last year but at this point he doesn't see it as a "necessity." Hopefully Matt continues to work hard and can put this QB question to bed before the season starts.
Attendance: For the most part the faces that were expected to show up at OTA's showed up and the ones who were absent (either partially or the entire time) were somewhat expected as well. Boldin and Dockett stayed away for the entire time but that wasn't a big surprise, at least not in my mind. Edge missed about half of the practices which is about the norm for him and several guys missed a practice here or there. The coaching staff did point out that every player who missed practice/practices (with the exception of Q and DD of course) communicated with the coaching staff and were "excused." Look for every report from the middle of July to the start of camp to contain some speculation on whether or not Q and DD will report to camp on time.
Who gets cut: Before you say " duh there are cuts every single year," remember that two players will have to be cut once all 7 draft picks are signed. Teams can only bring 80 players to camp but during OTA's they had 82 on the roster (unsigned rookies don't officially count against that 80 until they sign). A premature guess on my part would be that an offensive lineman and a defensive lineman would be on the chopping block considering that they brought in 7 combined undrafted free agents to fill the trenches.
So what will be weighing on your mind as the start to training camp nears? Any free agents you'd like the see the team make a run at (LeCharles Bentley)?