Fleming stands out at Cards' rookie minicamp
(Getty)
(Getty)

Posted May 18, 2012


Cornerback Jamell Fleming made a positive impression during the recent rookie minicamp. Who else stood out? Find out inside.

--Cornerback Jamell Fleming made a positive impression during the recent rookie minicamp. He is one of two drafted defensive players, and the other, safety Justin Bethel, has a steeper learning curve. Fleming played at Oklahoma while Bethel played at tiny Presbyterian.

"It looks like one is from a big school and one is from a small school, it really does," coordinator Ray Horton said. "One is well coached, well-versed, understands schemes and what he's doing and how to play football.

"Justin looks like he's a raw kid from a small school who has a bunch of athletic talent. We have to harness that talent and put it into the right direction. You could see the kid get overwhelmed but you want him to be a sponge and soak stuff up."

Horton isn't alarmed by the difference; he expected it.

"I don't remember (Fleming) making a mental mistake, which was great," he said. "We're going to start throwing more things at him, but he has the demeanor of an NFL guy. He reminds me of Patrick (Peterson). He came in and said: 'OK, this is what I am. I'm a pro football player.'"

--The rookie minicamp was the first for coach Ken Whisenhunt in his five years with the team. He missed having veterans around to show rookies what to do, but the extra attention was beneficial for the young players, too.

"For three days, five practices, we actually kind of looked like we knew what we were doing," Whisenhunt said. "Everybody looks good in shorts. You don't want to get too excited. We had a number of guys make plays, look good in what they were doing. We'll have a better sense when we go against our veterans. Things will speed up.

"Let's just say this: the first stage of the test, they passed."

--Receiver Michael Floyd looked the part of a first-round pick during the minicamp. He ran solid routes, caught the ball well and looked at home in the NFL. Floyd said the offense is similar to the one he ran in his first two seasons at Notre Dame under coach Charlie Weis.

--Rookie right tackle Bobby Massie is expected to contend for a starting job. He was the only right tackle in the three day camp and took every snap there. "It was a learning experience," Massie said. "I tried to pick up on the plays really fast and different defenses. I messed up here and there but I corrected when I could."

Massie is expected to contend for the starting job, and will be challenged by veterans Jeremy Bridges and D'Anthony Batiste.

"I'm coming here with the mindset to start, but there's a vet (Bridges) who has been here nine, 10 years," he said. "I'm just coming in to learn as much as I can."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We had a couple of guys who had a little bit of struggle after the practice, and it wasn't because of the heat or the reps. It was more because of nervous energy and not eating a whole lot. You could certainly sympathize with what they're going through. For some of these young men, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. A lot of guys don't ever get this chance." -- Coach Ken Whisenhunt on the 16 players attending rookie camp on a tryout basis.



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