The Cardinals were back in full pads Friday for two-a-day morning and afternoon sessions, preparing for their annual “Red and White” practice on Saturday. There was some light hitting, but practice was cut about 30 minutes short to give the players extra rest before tomorrow’s light scrimmage. Several players stood out and continued to impress in preparation for the season.
Highlights: CFL transplant Stevie Baggs had a great practice. He showed great skill during pass-rush and blitz pickup drills. He was seemingly all over the field and certainly strengthened his odds in the fight for 53.
Running back Beanie Wells had another strong day. He is starting to show more patience, letting a play develop and waiting on blocks before hitting the hole. This is an encouraging sign with Wells expected to shoulder much of the offense this season.
Quarterback Matt Leinart had his second consecutive quality practice. He rebounded from throwing a near-interception to hit Larry Fitzgerald for a big gain (though some may argue Fitz pushed off on the play). Leinart still has some work to do before the season opener, but he looks more comfortable and technically sound than he has in his entire professional career.
Defensive end Calais Campbell looked dominating during one-on-one pass drills today. The Miami product is poised to have a breakout season, playing opposite Darnell Dockett and refining his tackling technique.
Roster moves: Cornerback Rashad Barksdale was released and the team signed second-year corner Trevor Ford, a teammate of rookie Jorrick Calvin at Troy.
Injuries: The results of Gerald Hayes’ MRI revealed the middle linebacker’s recovery from back surgery will keep him out until early September. Cornerback Trumaine McBride (groin) missed the afternoon session, while fullback Charles Ali limped off the field and did not return. The Cards continue to be thin in the short-run at tight end as Anthony Becht (back), Jim Dray (quad) and Ben Patrick (knee) all missed another day of practice. This leaves just Stephen Spach and Dominique Byrd the only healthy tight ends on the roster, though long snapper Mike Leach could fill in.
Quote of the Day: "Coach is working him hard. Coach is riding him, being real strict. If he does something real small wrong, he gets on him about it and makes him do it again, which is good for him because we depend on him and need him to get ready."
-Campbell on rookie defensive tackle Dan Williams’ camp experience thus far.
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