Training Camp Report: Sunday

Sundays in July may not have the fanfare of those during the season, but it's these training camp days that can make or break a season. As the Cardinals try to make the leap from pretender to contender it becomes crucial to value each practice. The Cardinals hit the field a few minutes early and looked a bit sluggish. After quickly shaking off the rust, it was time to get down to business.

Kurt Warner started off practice with the first team, much to the surprise of the onlookers. Matt Leinart, arriving fashionably late, took over shortly thereafter. Leinart's throws were crisp and accurate; the only concern came when he grabbed his back and grimaced after throwing a laser into the arms of Early Doucet. Fortunately a swift recovery eliminated any unfounded apprehension.

Leinart showed off his improved footwork during a complicated passing drill. A minor misstep, however, provided the lone comedic moment of the afternoon. As Leinart was side stepping obstacles placed at his feet, his foot caught an edge and he promptly tumbled to the ground. Slightly embarrassed, he eased the pain by quickly getting back on his feet. Then with a bow and a "Thank you, Thank you", he headed to the end of the line with a new respect for the drill.

The running backs were one of the highlights of the day. Edgerrin James ran well and showed that he has the ability to carry the Cardinals ground game for another season. A few more practice reps than usual encouraged J.J. Arrington. Tim Hightower was strong and quick, making the defense work whenever he was given the ball. Even Marcel Shipp got into the action, with sharp moves and power running that delighted the gathering of fans. If Sunday was any indicator, the running back cuts are going to be one of the toughest decisions for the coaching staff.

Larry Fitzgerald
Otto Greule/Getty

Anquan Boldin was on the field for practice, but did not fully participate. Wearing a baseball hat and basketball shorts, he spent most of the afternoon running wind sprints or watching from the sidelines. His demeanor solemn as the contract dispute looms, Boldin still found time to sign autographs and take a few photos with the fans.

Boldin's counterpart, Larry Fitzgerald, was his usual self. Spectacular catches and precise route running is a clear indicator that another season of breathtaking highlights are on the way. Fitzgerald connected well with both Leinart and Warner and seemed to be on the same page no matter who was playing quarterback.

Brian St. Pierre was the recipient of most of the leftover reps after Warner and Leinart had finished. Anthony Morelli was solid, but a spot on the practice squad is his likely destination. St. Pierre provides a solid emergency option, and his experience is the main component behind his status above Morelli.

At the conclusion of Sunday practice the players, as usual, spent a few minutes interacting with the fans. The excitement is apparent in Flagstaff, AZ and the anticipation of a great season is on the minds of all the fans. The Cardinals are equipped with all the tools to make a push into the postseason.

The difference between the elite teams and the sub-par teams is the effort put forth before the lights come on. As another Sunday and another practice go into the books, one question emerges. Do the Cardinals have what it takes to bring the Lombardi Trophy to Arizona? One day of practice won't answer that question and it is important to remember that the way to victory is to take it one step at a time. On that premise, the verdict is simple.

So far, so good.

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