GLENDALE, Ariz. – The
Cardinals' annual Red and White practice lacked some of the fire and flavor of past years. With his running back corps already down to three healthy players and his defensive line down to six, coach Bruce Arians opted for a normal practice with limited contact.
That didn’t rule out some highlight plays and standout performances in front of an announced crowd of 17,500 at University of Phoenix Stadium, which topped last year's record of 14,500 in Flagstaff
-- Wide receiver
Michael Floyd continued his strong training camp with several catches in traffic. That’s encouraging, but the Cardinals want to see Floyd do it when the games begin in order to take some pressure and attention away from
“I just need to play big, be physical and take advantage of my talents,” Floyd said. “Last season, I felt like there was a learning curve where some things didn’t come as fast as I wanted, but I felt like when I got more opportunities the second half of the season, I started to perform to my abilities.”
-- Linebacker Daryl
Washington turned in perhaps the play of the day when he snared a one-handed interception on a
Ryan Lindley pass.
“I didn’t want it to be one-handed,” he said. “That’s just how it developed.”
Washington is suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. He could be out longer if an ongoing case related to a domestic dispute goes awry. Washington’s next court date is Tuesday.
-- With running backs
Rashard Mendenhall (knee tendinitis) and
Ryan Williams (knee flare-up) both sidelined (Williams was actually on crutches Saturday), rookies
Andre Ellington and
Stepfan Taylor got a chance to carry the load Saturday, along with
Alfonso Smith. Both rookies have shown flashes. Ellington is more of an elusive runner; Taylor looks like a straight-ahead runner, which fit well with Stanford’s power running game last season.
If the two continue to progress and Williams can’t get back on the field soon, he could lose his job as the No. 2 back -- and his roster spot.
-- The fourth and fifth receiver spots are still up for grabs, but with
LaRon Byrd sidelined by a concussion and Robert Gill still out with a hamstring issue, Clemson product
Jaron Brown and Southern product Charles Hawkins continue to impress. Brown seems to make a big catch every practice.
-- The most intriguing battles are still on the offensive line. You can probably pencil in center
Lyle Sendlein, left guard Jonathan Cooper and right tackle
Eric Winston as starters. What will be interesting to see is if the Cards’ two highest-priced lineman, left tackle
Levi Brown and right guard
Daryn Colledge, can hold off challenges.
Brown is being pushed by
Nate Potter, who has beefed up to 295 pounds this offseason. Colledge ($7.275 million cap hit) is out with a nerve issues in his leg. The Cards haven’t yet experimented with Potter or
Bobby Massie at guard, where recent addition
Paul Fanaika has been filling in, but they might after the team’s first preseason game at Green Bay next week. If Brown ($6.4 million cap hit) doesn’t step up or if Colledge’s health issues linger, the Cards could go with a much cheaper option.