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Arizona Cardinals Training Camp Coverage: Boldin Saga Continues and Fullbacks Audition

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After making three roster moves the Arizona Cardinals spent part of yesterday's down time working out two fullbacks in hopes of filling the team's open roster spot. Neither player was recognizable but I'm sure we'll hear of a signing by weeks end, if one of them impressed the staff. Ken Whisehunt did say that he expects a fullback to fill the vacant role. As far as reports from yesterday's practice, here are the highlights:

  • LaRod Stephens-Howling is starting to turn some heads with his all around play. He's elusive in the open field and very hard to locate in a crowd.
  • Bertrand Berry has been impressive in one on one drills and he's shown at times why most consider him to be the team's best pass rusher.
  • Stephen Spach participated in the 11-on-11 drills yesterday but spent other parts of practice rehabbing his injured knee. He might be ahead of schedule but it's still premature to say that he's game ready or close to 100%.
  • As far as the injury report from yesterday, Beanie Wells (ankle), Dan Kreider (hamstring), Chike Okeafor (back), Anthony Becht (hamstring), and Bryant McFadden (ankle) all missed the entire practice. Becht was the only late addition to this list but his gimpy hamstring isn't expected to be anything serious. McFadden sprained his ankle on a spectacular pass breakup turned interception against Fitz but his ankle is considered less serious than Wells.
  • Boldin opens up about tradewinds - Anquan Boldin opens up about the trade opportunties that the Cardinals turned down or didn't act on, at least in his opinion.

Honestly, I know of 15 teams. This is a league where everyone communicates. So you have players everywhere -- guys that I work out with in Florida, guys that I'm friends with -- and they talk to their GMs, and they relay messages back and forth. So, I know of 15 teams that were willing to do exactly what it took to get me and make a trade happen. But the Cardinals were never specific about what they wanted. They only said if the right deal came along. But what is the right deal if you've never said it? But I never thought once that I'd be traded and I wasn't disappointed that it didn't happen.

  • Cardinals upgrade depth on offensive line - Sando has some great info on the newest Cardinal, Dexter Fowler, including a scouting report from Scouts Inc. Fowler is six-year veteran who has been a very steady performer in the middle of the Bills' offensive line. He has above-average size and strength, but wins with quickness, technique, intelligence and toughness. Fowler does a great job to snap and step quickly while taking proper angles to gain leverage. He has good hand use and foot agility to stay connected. He can slam and chip well to the second level or scoop offset-defenders with great quickness and technique. He doesn't have great power to get movement on the larger defensive tackles in the league and can be walked back some when one-on-one verse bull rushers.

JV - Edgerrin James helped you with the process last year, now you have a rookie in Beanie Wells coming in. I know you have just one year under your belt, but how much of a mentor can you be for him?

TH - Whatever it takes, whatever it takes for us to get back where we need to be, that's what I'm going to do. Edge did a great job, he could have kept to himself last year and been all about himself but he didn't; he took me under his wing and taught me everything he knew and I'm eternally grateful for that. I'm going to do the same thing and hopefully I can help him as much as I can, bring him along, and make his transition a lot easier and when it's time for someone to come up to him, he'll do the same thing.

JV - What started to click for you during the season that you were able to end it on such a high note and make a solid contribution to the teams run?

DRC- I think it was the time and preparation that I put into everything, coming in I really wasn't big on film and learning, you know I was just solely relying on my athletic ability. I saw early on it wasn't just about athletic ability you got to have a mental game to go along with it if you want to be good or great, so I started to understand that and get that and that's what I really wanted to do.

  • Patrick thankful team stands by him - Ben Patrick hoped to spend training camp and the preseason building upon an impressive performance late last season, which included scoring a touchdown in the Super Bowl. Instead, it was announced in June that Patrick would be suspended the first four games of the season for taking a substance banned under the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. "I've never been in trouble in my life, ever," Patrick said. "To make an honest mistake, which I take full responsibility for, to be punished so harshly was tough. But rules are rules."
  • Cards' Campbell up to challenge - At 6-feet-8 inches, filling a big pair of shoes has never been a problem for defensive end Calais Campbell, at least in a literal sense. Yet, ask many Cardinals coaches and players about Campbell's potential starting role this season, and the metaphor pops up consistently. "He's got some big shoes to fill," defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. "He's going to have to fill some big shoes right now," inside linebacker Karlos Dansby said. The Cardinals didn't make many personnel changes on defense in the off-season but they did allow starting right end Antonio Smith to leave for Houston via free agency. The Cardinals planned for the departure a year earlier, drafting Campbell in the second round out of Miami and Kenny Iwebema in the fourth out of Iowa.