A rush at Cardinals camp

July, 27, 2008
7/27/08
9:39
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The Cardinals have finished practicing in windy and mostly sunny conditions at Northern Arizona University.

Afterward, Anquan Boldin and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie signed autographs longer than anyone. Boldin might prefer signing a new contract at this point, but for now he's working under a deal with three years remaining. A strained hamstring kept him from practicing, but we did see Boldin participate in resistance jogging while a long rope tethered him to cornerback Marcus Brown, who is also injured.

Arizona's defensive speed, heightened as the players practiced without full pads, made life difficult for the passing game at times Sunday. The ball was on the ground quite a bit.

I watched the one-on-one pass-rush drills closely, taking notes as to which players appeared to win or lose each battle. My scorecard showed pass rusher Travis LaBoy winning all three of his matchups, two against undrafted rookie tackle Peter Clifford and one against undrafted rookie tackle Thaddeus Coleman. Coleman is 6-foot-8 and his height seems to work against him. Defenders maneuvered under him.

Veteran pass rusher Chike Okeafor unofficially went 2-2, beating starting right tackle Levi Brown and rookie seventh-round tackle Brandon Keith. Brown and Keith accounted for Okeafor's defeats. Line coach Russ Grimm was clearly pleased when Brown, his starting right tackle, locked out the smaller, quicker Okeafor in a rematch. Okeafor's spin move can be tough to handle.

I had second-round draft choice Calais Campbell at 1-1, both against veteran backup guard Scott Peters. I had a harder time determining a winner in three of Campbell's other matchups (two against backup tackle Elton Brown, one against undrafted free-agent guard Charlton Medder). Calais appeard to get too high on a spin move to the inside. Peters snatched him in mid-spin, putting an abrupt end to the matchup.

Peters dominated rookie fourth-round defensive end Kenny Iwebema in one matchup. Iwebema beat Peters another time. Iwebema also handled Coleman, getting under him. Starting left tackle Mike Gandy had the upper hand against veteran pass rusher Bert Berry, the only time I saw either starter participate in these drills. Tackle Elliot Vallejo won both of his matchups with veteran backup Joe Tafoya.

Defensive end Darnell Dockett and guard Deuce Lutui, both starters, collided in what was probably the most physical matchup. I wasn't sure if there was a winner, but the force of their impact made a distinct sound.

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