clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Arizona Cardinals Weekly Flock: Preseason Opener Versus the Steelers Edition

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Not much news came out of yesterdays one practice other than Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt updating the injury situation and informing the media which guys were being ruled out for tomorrow's preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Those who were ruled out of action included Early Doucet (shoulder), Anthony Becht (hamstring), Elliot Vallejo (dislocated kneecap) and Keilen Dykes (quad strain). Whiz didn't rule out Beanie Wells (ankle sprain) but it would be a major surprise if he suits up. Wells did run sprints with the team on Monday but still had a noticeable limp and didn't practice yesterday. As for the Steelers injury report, head coach Mike Tomlin hasn't officially ruled anyone out of the game but two starters, center Justin Hartwig and guard Darnell Stapleton are not expected to play. 

Here are some other stories leading up to this week's opener:

  • McFadden brings Steelers mentality - They say when you start your NFL career with a team such as the Pittsburgh Steelers , you are born into a fraternity that expects nothing but strength, accountability and an iron-fisted will to win. Ken Whisenhunt and the staff he brought with him have tried to instill that same feeling here. And in Whisenhunt's relatively brief time in the Valley, he has brought several players from the Steelers. One of the latest is cornerback Bryant McFadden, who helped Pittsburgh beat Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII in February. A starter for a good portion of the 2008 season for the Steelers, including the entire postseason, McFadden joined the Cardinals as a free agent, signing a two-year, $10 million deal in March.
  • Urban's game, role expand for Cards - On occasions when defensive backs find a way to glue themselves to Cardinals receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, Kurt Warner isn't afraid to still thread a pass in either player's direction because he knows they will fight for their space - and the ball - and make plays. But this year, Warner is confident he and the Cardinals will be able to double that trust issue because he's seeing the same playmaking ability in training camp from Steve Breaston and perhaps more surprisingly, Jerheme Urban. "Jerheme has had an outstanding camp," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. " . . . He's really stood up and has had as good a camp as anybody.
  • Cards' injuries not concerning yet - Ken Whisenhunt isn't overly concerned about the injuries, and neither are Wells, Boldin or Warner.
  • LaRod Stephens-Howling getting a chance - LaRod Stephens-Howling deflected talk about getting more reps because fellow rookie Beanie Wells was injured, or what kind of camp he has had. "I am looking for a job just like everyone out here," Stephens-Howling said. The Cards’ first seventh-round draft pick is one of the forgotten men of the offseason. A lingering hamstring injury kept him off the field a good portion of the voluntary workouts, and the smaller (5-foot-7, 185 pounds) running back hadn’t really shown much until camp. But he has caught the eye of camp observers and coach Ken Whisenhunt, who said he has been impressed with the man who up until now was best known in Cards’ circles for his emotional draft day conference call.
  • Tim Hightower is satisfied - Pro Bowls aren’t a lofty enough goal, nor is 1,000 yards rushing. Winning the Cardinals’ starting running back job over Beanie Wells, in Tim Hightower’s mind, has to be a given. Hightower’s ambition forces him to seek more.
  • NFC West talk with Sando, Miklasz - Mike Sando addresses the turnover in the Cardinals coaching staff and Whiz felt moved to make such drastic changes after the franchise's most successful season.
  • 'DRC' looks to become consistent at cornerback - Arizona corner back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie made plenty of big plays during his rookie year. As he prepares for his second NFL season, the Cardinals want Rodgers-Cromartie to pay more attention to the small ones. That means relying less on his dazzling speed and mastering techniques in practice. When it comes to pure exhilaration, learning proper footwork doesn't compare to the 99-yard interception return for a touchdown that Rodgers-Cromartie turned in last season. But the coaches say an improved practice regimen will help the 23-year-old Floridian turn his potential into consistent production at one of the game's most demanding positions
  • Current players who should and could be in Canton someday - Kurt Warner - Warner's case for enshrinement got considerably stronger last year, when he vaulted from the second spot on the depth chart to his third career Super Bowl. But even with two league MVP awards and a Super Bowl MVP trophy on the mantle, Warner's numbers need a little beefing up. Two more seasons with Larry Fitzgerald (and, for now, Anquan Boldin) should do the trick.
  • Handicapping wide-open NFC race - 7. Arizona Cardinals - I've got the 2008 NFC champions at the seventh spot on this list — one place too low to make it to the playoffs — for a reason. For starters, they were only 9-7 last year. Also, they've had plenty of turnover in the coaching staff. Perhaps most importantly, for the first time since Harry S. Truman was drinking beers in the back yard of the White House, every opponent will be gunning for the Cardinals. They'll be good, and they possibly could piece together a playoff run. But it's a stretch to assume based on what we know right now that they'll get back.