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2015 NFL training camp: Observations from 1st Arizona Cardinals practice

What did we see in the team's first practice of training camp?

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals have one of the 19 open practices in training camp in the books. I was there doing media things and will be there again on Sunday and again next Saturday and Sunday. Here are some of what I noticed from the press box and the sideline, as well as what I heard from players and Bruce Arians.

Camp Cupcake? The players don't agree

I'll have more on it with quotes from specific players, but since Arians made everyone laugh by calling training camp easy, reporters all asked pretty much everyone if it was. The response was a resounding "no way." Practice was indeed fast-paced and intense.


Already a position missing players with injuries, tight end Darren Fells left the field early. Mike Jurecki reported it was issues with leg cramps. Hopefully it's nothing that will keep him out of practice, as tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Troy Niklas are not practicing for now.

Perhaps more concerning was a possible injury to linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. While he was on the field to start practice with the first team, he was not for about the last half. He left the field with staff a few minutes early. Kent Somer reported it was a hamstring injury. In his place, Kevin Minter became the three-down backer and alongside him undrafted rookie Edwin Jackson and second-year player Glenn Carson rotated the first team reps.

Offensive rotation was as expected

The starting lineup was as it has been all offseason -- Jared Veldheer, Mike Iupati, A. Q. Shipley, Jonathan Cooper and Bobby Massie. We will see if Ted Larsen gets rotated in and out for Shipley in the days to come. Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd were WR1 and WR2, and John Brown came in, playing outside and sliding Fitz to the slot. The two "starting" tight ends were Fells and Ifeanyi Momah.

Tyrann Mathieu not playing safety, Bucannon playing two positions

That's not entirely true, but it is the case with the starters. He is the slot corner right now. The two safeties always on the field are Rashad Johnson and Deone Bucannon. It is Johnson and Bucannon in base sets and Mathieu on the bench. In the team's nickel (dime) package, Mathieu plays the slot, Bucannon slides down to cover linebacker, where he played all last season, and Tony Jefferson enters at safety.

No Bethel on first team

Justin Bethel was on the second team at cornerback,  but Jerraud Powers and Patrick Peterson do not leave the field with the "ones."

J.J. Nelson is fast and he looked good

The fifth-round pick flashed on the field. He showed why the team loves his speed on a couple of plays and also made a very nice leaping catch. He was also fielding punts to start practice.

Who is the backup running back?

Based on reps on Saturday, it was Kerwynn Williams. Stepfan Taylor was on the third team and rookie David Johnson was behind him.

OLB rotation?

The starters were, as they have been, Alex Okafor and Lorenzo Alexander. On the second team, it was LaMarr Woodley and sometimes Kareem Martin and sometimes Markus Golden. A surprise was seeing Zack Wagenmann on the field with the third team with Shaq Riddick. He had not practiced all offseason because of a foot injury. He was placed on the NFI list. Apparently, he was taken off today because he was on the field.

QB3 update

In this very important battle, the depth chart after Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton appears to go in this order: Logan Thomas, Chandler Harnish and Phillip Sims. We'll see if the order changes by day.

Looking good

Tyrann Mathieu and Andre Ellington both moved around very well. Michael Floyd made some nice catches. He scored a TD in the red zone in 11-on-11 drills and beat Jerraud Powers for a score in WR-on-CB drills.

Did he really change positions?

Matt Shaughnessy was moved to the defensive line in the offseason, but he had a few reps at OLB in nickel sets. Is he moving back?

Special guests

Frank Caliendo was on the sideline with Steve Keim. Adrian Wilson was also there.


I'll be back with more tomorrow.