Following a hard-hitting, aggressive night practice, the Cardinals got back to work Thursday afternoon shaking off the soreness from Wednesday night. The team participated in a lighter session of shoulder pads, shorts and no hitting. This allowed the offense to open up more and give the skill position players opportunities to make plays.
Injuries: Still recouping from last night, safety Adrian Wilson, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and guard Alan Faneca missed today’s session, but are not expected to miss any extended time. The tight end position has been bit by the injury bug, as Ben Patrick (knee), Anthony Becht (back) and Jim Dray (quad) missed the day’s practice and are considered day-to-day. The same can be said for safety Hamza Abdullah (hamstring), running back Alfonso Smith (neck/stinger), wide receiver Max Komar (knee) and defensive end Jeremy Clark (groin).
Highlights: The wide receivers shined in the wide-open, no tackling practice format:
Larry Fitzgerald already looks to be in midseason form, catching a long pass along the sideline during the two-minute drill.
Undrafted free agent Stephen Williams continued to make his case for a roster spot. The Toledo alum made several nice catches in the 7-on-7 drill. Steve Breaston redeemed a dropped touchdown with a tip-toe sideline grab and a diving catch for a nice gain.
Cornerback Trumaine McBride has had a so-so camp thus far, but had a solid day, including a nice deflection of a Derek Anderson pass.
Position Battles: Quarterback Matt Leinart may have had his best day of camp thus far. The fifth-year signal-caller was on target with most of his throws and effectively running the two-minute drill. Leinart is still holding the ball too long in the pocket at times, but may have created some breathing space between himself and Derek Anderson.
At the wide open middle linebacker position, Reggie Walker did not help his case, dropping an interception during one drill. At the moment, Paris Lenon and Monty Beisel look to be “top dogs” in Gerald Hayes’ absence. However, rookie Daryl Washington has seemingly improved with each snap and recently signed Pago Togafu is favorite of coach Ken Whisenhunt. The competition here will likely continue throughout the preseason.
Quote of the Day: “You understand going in that people are going to analyze every throw in practice. They are going to analyze every situation. I know we do not get caught up in that…We are certainly evaluating Matt on how he is progressing…We are assessing how he is handling the huddle, operating the offense and what he is doing.”
-Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt on the fans’ reaction to Matt Leinart’s performance.
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