Arizona Cardinals Training Camp Photo Gallery
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The Arizona Cardinals are in the middle of training camp, and a lot has been going on so far. Luckily for the team, there have been no major injuries.
The same cannot be said for others around the NFL.
Multiple teams have lost key players for the season during the first week of camp. The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens lost tight end Dennis Pitta with a dislocated hip; the Philadelphia Eagles lost wide receiver Jeremy Maclin with a torn ACL, and the Denver Broncos lost center Dan Koppen with the same injury.
It was a fun weekend at Cards camp, and here are some pictures highlighting the goings-on.
Buckner Looks over His Shoulder
Going undrafted out of the University of Arizona, Dan Buckner is a long shot to make the roster.
He has had a good camp so far, but he will need to really turn it on during the preseason games to have a chance. He is a good candidate for the practice squad if, indeed, he is not invited to join the team on its trip to St. Louis for Week 1.
Massie Signs Autographs
As a rookie, Bobby Massie was one of the worst, then one of the best, right tackles in the game. He allowed 13 sacks during the first eight games of 2012, according to ProFootballFocus (subscription required), before focusing and shutting the opposition out during Games 9 through 16.
Massie will battle brand new right tackle Eric Winston for the starting spot. Winston is a proven monster in the run game and is an adept pass-blocker. This was not among the expected camp battles, but it could turn into one of the best.
Ellington Burns Arenas
Sixth-round pick Andre Ellington has displayed the speed that made him so dangerous at Clemson, when he rushed for 3,436 yards over four seasons and averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
His vision is better than some thought, as he has found a few small holes out of the corner of his eye and snuck through them for nice gains. He is in a battle for one of the final running back spots on the roster with Alfonso Smith, who also has looked impressive at times.
Fitzgerald Gives Maximum Effort at All Times
Larry Fitzgerald enters his 10th NFL season with a renewed sense of hope for the organization. Things have been turned around quickly in Arizona, thanks in part to new general manager Steve Keim and new head coach Bruce Arians. All the changes are ultimately due to team president Michael Bidwill promoting Keim and agreeing to hire Arians.
It was a slow start for Fitzgerald at camp, as he and quarterback Carson Palmer have not been on the same page at times. Both are perfectionists, however, so they surely will get it worked out before games count.
Palmer Eyes His Target
Palmer has looked very good at times during camp, and he has also looked rusty at times. That is to be expected with all-new coaches, an all-new offensive playbook and an all-new receiving corps.
His middle-of-the-field accuracy has been pinpoint good, and he has been moving around in the pocket far better than the "statue" description that precedes him.
D-Line Works on Their Get-off
There is much better depth along the defensive line this season than there was in 2012. Guys like Matt Shaughnessy (who will also play some outside linebacker), Frostee Rucker and UDFA Padric Scott offer solid depth at all three positions.
David Carter will play all three positions at times, mostly in relief of defensive ends Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett, as well as nose tackle Dan Williams.
O-Line Ready to Hit Someone
The Cardinals' new-look offensive line has committed "way too many mental errors" during camp, says Arians according Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. They were better Sunday than they were Friday or Saturday, with tackles Nate Potter and Bobby Massie standing out among the rest.
The line gets its shiny new hood ornament back this week, however, as No. 7 overall pick, guard Jonathan Cooper, signed Sunday and practiced Monday. He will start at left guard and, depending on which left tackle wins the battle, will be playing in tandem with either Potter or Levi Brown.
Potter has the edge early on.
Arians Coaches Up Fitz
He is making the most of his first head-coaching job in the NFL thus far, and most would agree Arians is getting the most out of his players as well. Even in being stern and (quite) loud, he has his players' utmost respect, and that's a good sign.
At one point during Saturday's practice, Brown moved early; the play was blown dead by Arians and the ball moved back five yards due to the false start. It was at that point when Arians' frontal and jugular veins had to be protruding from his face and neck, as the entire stadium heard him hollering at Brown.
That's the way he coaches, and Brown took it like a man.
Mathieu Returns a Punt
It is possible rookie safety Tyrann Mathieu is sent out to return punts at the same time as Patrick Peterson this season, but don't expect a lot of that. Peterson is the guy back there, and Mathieu has enough to worry about for now with learning a new position.
He will play free safety for Todd Bowles, and so far he has looked at home in the defensive backfield. He was tasked with covering Michael Floyd at one point Sunday, and Floyd has half a foot on Mathieu. Floyd ultimately bested the third-round pick on a jump-ball, but no one can blame Mathieu for that.
Many will have issues covering Floyd deep throughout the 6'3" receiver's career.
Mendenhall Looks for Room Up the Middle
The first two days of camp, Rashard Mendenhall's performance left something to be desired. He did not run hard (not as hard as Ryan Williams, anyway), and he dropped a couple passes with no one covering him.
Sunday was much better for No. 28, as with pads on, he looked to be running much better. Throughout camp, Mendenhall has been off on his own stretching his legs, often focusing on his hamstrings and calves. Speculation would say he is not used to the dry heat and is dehydrated, but there is no way to confirm that without asking the man himself.