Cardinals Training Camp: What to Watch

With just a few days remaining until the 2010 Arizona Cardinals set up camp in Flagstaff, Big Red fans should know what to look for when watching their team over the course of the next three weeks. The Cardinals enter this season with more questions and new players than in recent years and training camp should give Arizona fans an idea of what to expect in the coming months.

1. Players Making Plays: A diving catch. An open-field tackle. A crack-back block. Players who go all out and make these kinds of plays catch a coach's eye. If they can prove they have the ability and desire to make plays when there is little or nothing on the line, they prove they can be counted on when the game is hanging in the balance. For example, in 1998, Arizona drafted Corey Chavous in the second round to be a backup defensive back, not knowing what to expect. One practice, Chavous goes full extension to nab an errant pass, not only grabbing an interception, but his coaches' attention. Chavous went on to be a crucial member of the Cardinals' playoff run that year and have a very successful NFL career. Like Chavous, if a player goes all out, showcasing his ability, it will pay off when cuts need to be made.

2. The Fresh Faces: Watching this team as much as we do, you learn what to expect from the players who have been to camp with the Cardinals before. Adrian Wilson laying out a receiver over the middle. Darnell Dockett punishing offensive linemen on his way into the backfield. But it is the rookies and new free agents that gain most of the attention because they have not been seen on the same stage as the franchise's cornerstone players. Newcomers like Kerry Rhodes, Joey Porter, Dan Williams and Daryl Washington will need to start proving they are worth the draft picks and money utilized to bring them to Arizona. On a team with this many new players and open positions, it will be the new additions that are expected to fill the voids.

3. Who Comes to Camp in Shape: In every camp across the NFL, teams have endurance tests the first week of camp to see who has gone the extra mile in the offseason. Coaches will not hesitate to cut a player who comes to camp either overweight or out of shape, especially if there is heavy competition at his position. One player this especially applies to is offensive lineman Deuce Lutui, a starter in each of the past three seasons. Lutui was reportedly pushing 400 pounds when he signed his tendered contract last month. A failed endurance test can often be a death sentence for a player's tenure with a team, while those who have put in the work when no one is looking rise to the top.

4. Discipline: It has been a topic coach Ken Whisenhunt has preached about since he arrived in the desert in 2007. Staying in lanes. No stupid penalties. Knowing assignments. Discipline in every aspect of the game has helped lead the Cardinals to back-to-back division titles. Whisenhunt continues to look for discipline from all of his players, especially in training camp. Those who can play with discipline, even when tired, can often find a spot on this team.


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