Ball Security Big Emphasis with Cardinals

Coaches have worked hard with quarterback Kurt Warner this offseason on ball security in hopes that is the remedy for his fumbling problems. Ball security is the key, said coach Ken Whisenhunt. That's obvious, but how have the Cardinals gone about it?

Kurt Warner and the other quarterbacks have gone through daily drills to practice moving around in the pocket while keeping both hands on the ball. They move in and around bags and also work on rolling out.

The emphasis to Warner has been to keep both hands on the ball. He has had trouble in the past with holding the ball in one hand, while trying to look downfield for a receiver and avoiding the rush.

That allowed defensive linemen, especially ends, to just reach out and knock the ball loose. It also made him more susceptible to fumbling when he was sacked.

Improving this area was one of Warner's biggest points of emphasis this offseason, he said. Warner also said he needs to realize when it's time to give up on a play. Too often, he holds on to the ball in a crowd, hoping to get rid of it at the last second.


--NT Alan Branch didn't practice on Thursday, so it looks like starter Bryan Robinson will be holding down that spot alone on Sunday. Branch (ankle) needs to practice on Friday in order to play Sunday.

--TE Leonard Pope has looked better in recent weeks after struggling early in training camp. Pope suffered a dislocated ankle and fractured leg late last season and didn't seem up to speed when camp started. He's been running better of late and has made some nice catches.

--C Al Johnson is at least a week, and probably more like two, away from returning to the lineup. Johnson underwent knee surgery in late July. Lyle Sendlein has taken his place and is a solid player.

--WR Steve Breaston will be the team's No. 3 receiver, but he's being pressed by Jerheme Urban. Neither has filled that role on a consistent basis. Breaston is in his second year, and Urban has struggled through some injuries and has dropped some passes in traffic.

--RB Edgerrin James likely will have some of his workload reduced this year due to the emergence of rookie Tim Hightower. Hightower could get between five and 10 carries a game if he produces like he did in preseason.

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