Cards Camp: Leinart Struggles, Defense Excels

The defense continues to shine but is it due to the offensive struggles? Find out inside.

Cardinals training camp moved to Coconino High School on Wednesday night, where fans packed the bleachers as the Cardinals strapped on the pads and played some physical 11-on-11 football. During the hour of warm ups and drills that preceded the scrimmage, Darnell Dockett and Larry Fitzgerald were jawing as they ran sprints. Rookie QB's John Skelton and Max Hall showed improvement, and the kick returns were handled by Andre Roberts, Steve Breaston, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

11-on-11 drills began with safety Adrian Wilson charging up the middle for what would have been a big hit on QB Matt Leinart. The offense responded, with RB Tim Hightower taking a handoff around the right side and breaking up field for a big gain. Leinart then connected with wideout Early Doucet near the right sideline on a beautifully executed crossing route. The second-team defense shut down backup QB Derek Anderson for a series that included a tense moment when Doucet was momentarily shaken up.

DE Jeremy Clark, who was impressive all evening, applied heavy pressure on Skelton as the rookie signal caller took a few snaps. However, the offense still managed a big play or two. LaRod Stephens-Howling showed off his incredible speed and fancy footwork as he ducked past defenders while sprinting up field.

As Leinart took the reigns once more, he was met with heavy pressure from DE Calais Campbell and LB Monty Beisel, which forced an incompletion and a desperation dump off to FB Nehemiah Broughton. The defense continued to control the line of scrimmage as DE Kenny Iwebema, who has had a rough training camp thus far, was able to penetrate the offensive line and get to Anderson on the following series.

In separate workouts between the 11-on-11 drills, TE Ben Patrick went down with what appeared to be a fairly serious left leg injury. He was assisted off the field by two trainers and loaded onto a cart. He clutched his lower left leg as several trainers, coach Ken Whisenhunt, and wideout Larry Fitzgerald looked on. Patrick's injury is being called a sprained knee and he'll undergo an MRI on Thursday.

As the contact drills resumed, Hightower broke off another big run before the defensive studs began to steal the show. Dockett penetrated the offensive line and put a big hit on Beanie Wells just as he was receiving a handoff. On the next play, LB Joey Porter came around the outside and hit Leinart just as he dumped the ball off underneath to Fitzgerald, who made a great catch for a small gain. Safety Matt Ware showed his speed on the following snap, getting to Anderson untouched.

Rookie wideout and kick returner Andre Roberts had a couple nice grabs, including a TD pass on a crossing route from Anderson before the defense took over once more. Jeremy Clark forced a fumble, Dockett grabbed Leinart, and the line was able to stuff the powerful Wells on several occasions. The defense cemented its victory for the evening when LB Paris Lenon picked off a pass from Leinart underneath and Calais Campbell stopped Wells in his tracks. Dockett and Campbell leapt into the air in celebration as the horn sounded.


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