Cardinals Get Training Camp Makeover

The Cardinals took the field for their first day of training camp on Friday, and the excitement was palpable. Fans and photographers lined the sides of the fields during the Cardinals early morning walkthroughs and warm-ups. To the casual onlooker, the scene could have looked like any other NFL training camp. But to diehard Arizona fans, something was very different. Josh Sarkisian explains.

"The days of the old training camp are over I guess…," one fan was overheard saying. Clearly, he was right.

After walkthroughs and stretching, the team broke up into groups based on position and began drills. Kicker Neil Rackers started practice in a festive spirit. He was walking around and noticed a young boy wearing an Illinois t-shirt. "I like that shirt!" he exclaimed, and then took a photo with the boy.

Those watching the receivers at around 9:15 a.m. were treated to a spectacular one-handed catch made by Larry Fitzgerald, which drew many cheers from the onlookers. Morning practice ended around 10:20.

Afternoon practice started off in the same manner, but with more intensity. Then position drills started. The quarterbacks had a contest to see who could get the ball into a trash can first. The first round the can was placed in the top left corner of the end zone, and Matt Leinart came the closest when he hit the trash can. Round two the can was placed in the top right corner of the end zone, and Brian St. Pierre took that round, hitting the can three consecutive times.

Once position drills were over, the offense paired up with their defensive counterparts in some one-on-one scrimmaging. The most entertaining matchups to watch occurred in the defensive back/wide receiver category. The most entertaining matchup to watch within that category was Fitzgerald versus Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, which ended in Fitzgerald burning Rodgers-Cromartie on a deep post.

Toward the end of the practice the team split in half and the fans got to enjoy some 11-on-11 scrimmaging. The team brought a lot of intensity and the defense was showing signs of future league dominance. The offense was flowing smoothly and everyone seemed to understand their assignments well. Day one of training camp came to an end, and with it came hopes for a championship season.

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