Tuesday Camp, Down to Business

The battle at running back is heating up with rookie Tim Hightower taking on some of the Cardinals' toughest run stuffers. Linebacker Monty Beisel hasn't hit the turf yet, but his mouth was running at Matt Leinart. Over at the safety drills, Aaron Francisco is playing double duty. AZRedReport.com's Jason Harris has all the details from Flagstaff.

Today's practice marks the half way point of the longest stretch of consecutive practices for the Cardinals at camp. The fifth of nine days straight, Tuesday got off to a slow start. Walk throughs in the rain had players and fans less than enthused. Players spent a lot of time in individual position drills today. It may not be the most exciting part of training camp, but it appears to be working.

When the Cardinals came together as a team on Tuesday, both sides looked sharp. The offense was audibling effectively, executing screens and draws with ease, and blocking with a sense of urgency. The defense looked equally on top of things, playing aggressive, blitzing efficiently and doing a great job shutting down the short pass.

QB Blitz

Matt Leinart, Kurt Warner or both? Here is what we already know. Leinart's the starter, Warner's the veteran, and both get reps with first team. What you may not know is that both threw lights out during 11-on-11 Tuesday. Both completed nearly every pass thrown and looked to be on the same page as big time threat, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who continues to showcase why he is one of the premier pass catchers in the NFL.

Safety In Numbers

With converted safety Antrel Rolle still learning his new position, free safety Aaron Francisco is making the most of his opportunities. He has been breaking up passes all over the field and catching the attention of fans. Francisco has been working at the starting safety spot in nickel and dime packages, replacing Rolle who moves to the third cornerback to add press coverage, run support and a blitz threat on the outside. If Francisco can get the job done, it should help the Cardinals get the most out of Rolle's abilities.

Odd Man Out

Rookie running back Tim Hightower has an uphill battle ahead of him, as he attempts to steal a roster spot from a backfield that hasn't changed in three years. Competition for the job of backing up Edgerrin James is really heating up between Hightower and veterans Marcel Shipp and J.J. Arrington. Drafted in the fifth round, Hightower showed everyone in attendance today that he means business at camp.

During the full-team scrimmage, Hightower took a handoff up the middle and ran through linebacker Karlos Dansby, who afterwards verbally expressed his displeasure. While Dansby starting spot is secure, Hightower is simply trying to make the team. If he keeps running at the team's best linebacker in practice, he's sure to get the coaches attention.

Huge Upside

Second round draft pick, defensive end Calais Campbell took reps during the Cardinals' game rehearsal, along side the starting defensive line, in place of veteran free agent pick up Bryan Robinson. Campbell has seen limited time with the first group thus far, but at 6'8" and weighing over 280 pounds, it's hard to ignore his potential. Like all rookies at camp, any playing time Campbell has receives at this point, he's earned.

Injury Updates

Wide receiver Anquan Boldin and cornerback Marcus Brown both missed their third straight day with hamstring problems. For the second day in a row center Al Johnson sat out with knee soreness. Linebacker Monty Beisel has yet to practice but could be seen riding the stationary bike and heckling Leinart who was throwing at targets.

"Come on Vince," Beisel said after a Leinart miss. Beisel was referring to Vince Young who was drafted as the first quarterback in the 2006 draft, seven spots ahead of Leinart. All in good fun, once he was done, Leinart took off his helmet, acknowledged that he heard Beisel and then skipped a ball in his direction.


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