Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Observations from Cardinals' early practice
By Mike Sando
TEMPE, Ariz. -- What I learned from watching the Arizona Cardinals' walk-through practice at team headquarters Wednesday:
- iPhones have on-screen temperature warnings. This wasn't even a particularly scorching day by Arizona's standards (103 at present), but it was hot enough to send my phone to the brink during an interview with defensive coordinator Ray Horton. Removing the phone from its protective case and placing it in the shade resolved the problem.
- Horton's confidence never wavers. He prefaced one answer with something along the lines of, "I don't want to be flip, but ..." I'd asked him what he'd learned as a first-year coordinator in 2011. The answer: nothing. More on that in another entry.
- Bobby Massie looks the part. Does he ever. The Cardinals' 6-foot-6, 316-pound rookie is working at right tackle with the backups. Rules prohibiting contact make it impossible to evaluate his readiness for the NFL. But if line coach Russ Grimm could pick a body type to work with at tackle, he couldn't do much better than Massie, a fourth-round pick from Mississippi. Jeremy Bridges is practicing with the first-team line, but getting Massie ready sooner than later has to be the priority.
- This practice wasn't very conducive to learning about players' physical traits. Players wore ballcaps, not helmets. They worked at the pace of a walk-through practice. The emphasis is on assignments. Coaches are watching to see how well players process information, and how quickly they correct mistakes.
- Coach Ken Whisenhunt isn't going to rush the quarterback decision. He emphasized the need for an "honest" competition. Some coaches approach the position differently. Kevin Kolb played for one of those coaches in Philadelphia. I'll pass along his thoughts on that and other subjects as time permits.
- Running back Beanie Wells was working with a trainer off to the side while continuing to recover from knee surgery. The team didn't acquire an experienced backup even though Wells and second-year running back Ryan Williams are coming off surgeries. Williams expects to get some on-field work in the Cardinals' second session Wednesday.
The Cardinals practice in helmets Wednesday night. That session is scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m. local time (9:45 ET). I'm eager to watch that one given the faster tempo.