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Friday, August 22, 2014 @ 7:29am

What I Saw -- Thursday, Aug. 21

By: Doug Franz
This is my last training camp blog. Please let me know what you've thought about what I wrote and what you wished I would have covered.

FLAGSTAFF:

I'll never get over training camp being in Glendale and not in Flagstaff. It was much easier to get to know the coaches and players in Flagstaff. There were multiple opportunities to talk to the players in the cafeteria or as they walked from practice to the dorms. I loved the weather and the atmosphere.

Make no mistake, however, there are zero Cardinals players or coaches that I've talked to that agree with anything I just said. From a team standpoint, training camp in Glendale exponentially more productive. NAU did a horrible disservice to every Flagstaff business and to this state for their haughty opinion of themselves. They played chicken with a Cardinal and lost.

TED LARSEN:

We need to get to know him because he's going to be the starting left guard for the Arizona Cardinals. Every member of the media owes you a big recantation -- myself included -- for the number of times we've said during the offseason, "...and when Cooper comes back it will be like getting a second first-round pick."

After practice, assistant line coach David Diaz-Infante worked with Larsen. Diaz-Infante would yell "Hut" and attack Larsen with a big yellow pad. Every punch from Larsen was dissected by Diaz-Infante. Although Larsen's punch was part of the focus, this one-on-one was all about footwork. The toughest thing for any guard is to aggressively receive the pass rush. Attack with the hands without getting top heavy all while keeping your feet moving.

DEONE BUCANNON:

Broken record. Another interception.

TYRANN MATHIEU:

Did more than drills. Even laid the lumber to a few receivers. Looks like nothing ever happened.

LARRY FITZGERALD:

An amazing one-handed catch that we've all started to take for granted.

OFFENSIVE FORMATION:

We're always asked to not write about sensitive information so I have to tread lightly, but I loved what I saw from the receivers yesterday. So much pre-snap motion. A lot of varying routes between Fitz, Floyd and the Browns. There's still work to be done to make sure they are seeing what Palmer is seeing but it looked tough for any defense to take all the weapons away. All that remains is pass protection.

Thursday, August 21, 2014 @ 8:19am

Young fan with popcorn bucket hat gets hit by ball, falls onto field

By: Haboob Blog
When you go to a baseball game and sit in the front row, you know there's a solid chance a ball will come your way.

That's exactly what happened for one young fan at the Arizona Diamondbacks-Washington Nationals game on Wednesday.

Unfortunately for the kid, who was wearing a Bryce Harper shirt, a Harper foul ball took a nasty bounce off the wall and he ended up taking it off his head. While wearing a popcorn bucket hat. And then he fell onto the field.

Talk about a string of bad luck all happening in about 2.2 seconds.

Diamondbacks broadcaster Bob Brenly summed it up well, "Oh, he took it right in the chops. Tough bounce, knocked the popcorn bucket right off his head."

We're thinking maybe the kid has thrown away the Harper shirt.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 @ 8:22pm

What I saw -- Wednesday, Aug. 20

By: Doug Franz
A lot to see at football practice and a football deity in attendance.

HOWARD MUDD:

It seemed like it was the same thing for 400 years. Tom Moore as the offensive coordinator and Howard Mudd as the offensive line coach leading the great Peyton Manning in Indianapolis. I don't think a lot of the lineman knew they were in the presence of greatness.

Mudd stood off to the side of the one-on-one pass rush drills. When the offensive lineman won the battle, Mudd didn't move. The second the defensive line began to cheer a win for their side, Mudd said nothing -- since he isn't on staff -- but made wild hand gestures as if he was on the line.

It took me a play or two but I realized he was perfectly mimicking the exact hand movements it took to defeat the particular pass-rush hand placement. Mudd's legs and back looked very uncomfortable. He walked placing a majority of his weight on a cane. Those physical limitations never came close to affecting his hands. They were lightning quick. He seemed to simplify the defensive athleticism with only a few moves against air.

I didn't see any young players take advantage of Mudd's appearance. Jared Veldheer couldn't get enough. As soon as the drills were over, Veldheer spent quite a few minutes competing against the same air that was fighting Mudd. They both felt satisfied that Oxygen had been defeated and parted ways. Clearly, Veldheer left the conversation a better left tackle than he was just 3 minutes earlier.

JONATHAN COOPER:

Despite being needled constantly by the coaching staff, Cooper still was without pads.

DEONE BUCANNON:

Another interception. Pass coverage was supposed to be a weakness. I said this kid was a good player but the first round was a reach. The only reason I haven't recanted is because it's the preseason.

JOHN ABRAHAM:

Wow! It was surprising he had such a good day. He seemed very light and quick. Early in team drills he read a screen, stopped his pass rush and held up the running back until the cavalry could come support his effort. Due to his age and absence, I have a "wait and see" attitude towards Abraham. I guess I now just have a wait attitude because I've already seen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 @ 8:22pm

What I saw -- Wednesday, Aug. 20

By: Doug Franz
A lot to see at football practice and a football deity in attendance.

HOWARD MUDD:

It seemed like it was the same thing for 400 years. Tom Moore as the offensive coordinator and Howard Mudd as the offensive line coach leading the great Peyton Manning in Indianapolis. I don't think a lot of the lineman knew they were in the presence of greatness.

Mudd stood off to the side of the one-on-one pass rush drills. When the offensive lineman won the battle, Mudd didn't move. The second the defensive line began to cheer a win for their side, Mudd said nothing -- since he isn't on staff -- but made wild hand gestures as if he was on the line.

It took me a play or two but I realized he was perfectly mimicking the exact hand movements it took to defeat the particular pass-rush hand placement. Mudd's legs and back looked very uncomfortable. He walked placing a majority of his weight on a cane. Those physical limitations never came close to affecting his hands. They were lightning quick. He seemed to simplify the defensive athleticism with only a few moves against air.

I didn't see any young players take advantage of Mudd's appearance. Jared Veldheer couldn't get enough. As soon as the drills were over, Veldheer spent quite a few minutes competing against the same air that was fighting Mudd. They both felt satisfied that Oxygen had been defeated and parted ways. Clearly, Veldheer left the conversation a better left tackle than he was just 3 minutes earlier.

JONATHAN COOPER:

Despite being needled constantly by the coaching staff, Cooper still was without pads.

DEONE BUCANNON:

Another interception. Pass coverage was supposed to be a weakness. I said this kid was a good player but the first round was a reach. The only reason I haven't recanted is because it's the preseason.

JOHN ABRAHAM:

Wow! It was surprising he had such a good day. He seemed very light and quick. Early in team drills he read a screen, stopped his pass rush and held up the running back until the cavalry could come support his effort. Due to his age and absence, I have a "wait and see" attitude towards Abraham. I guess I now just have a wait attitude because I've already seen.

Was is it worth it Daryl?

As Darnell Dockett laid on the ground, I couldn't help but think about that question.

Carson Palmer immediately went to Dockett as he laid on the ground. Calais Campbell stood above his fallen defensive linemate hoping what he was seeing was a messed up dream. One by one, different players tapped Dockett before moving the 11-on-11 drill 15 yards away from Darnell's torn ACL. One player who didn't approach Dockett was Daryl Washington because he believed violating the league's substance abuse policy was more worthwhile than being there for Dockett.

Sure, you can argue Washington wasn't thinking his Pro-Bowl defensive end that protects him, allowing him to run free, would tear his ACL in practice. I would argue that the sentence can stop with "Washington wasn't thinking."

At the first chance the defense had during practice, they took a knee to pray for Dockett. Washington was not there. Only the defensive players that can be counted on attended the impromptu prayer session. The Cardinals need Washington, now more than ever, and he's not there while serving his 16-game suspension.

Docket was the definition of dependability. Washington is known for the exact opposite. Starting next year, Washington will have missed an average of almost five games a year in his NFL career. Dockett has averaged one missed game every five years of his NFL career.

Steve Keim planned on a defense led by Todd Bowles with Patrick Peterson, Antonio Cromartie, Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett and Daryl Washington. Five players that either are or could develop into NFL stars. They're now down to three.

In order for Washington to have been suspended for 16 games, he must have tested positive at least three times since he was never convicted of a drug-related crime. If Washington was playing well this preseason, the Dockett loss would have been difficult to swallow but not devastating. Instead, neither man is playing. One man because he never quit on his teammates and another man because he never wanted to quit.

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