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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.

Friday, August 15, 2014 @ 9:06am

What I want to see Saturday from the Arizona Cardinals vs. Minnesota

By: Doug Franz
After every practice, I've been writing what I've seen at practice. Today, I want to focus on Minnesota. Here's what I hope to see Saturday night.

RUNNING GAME:

It's ridiculous to find fault in the Cardinals incredible offensive efficiency against Houston. Nothing even rose to the "concern" level after the game. However, the running game didn't come close to looking like a strength, either. The Cardinals have weapons all over the passing game depending on Arizona's ability to protect Carson Palmer. The best way to slow down an opposing pass rush is to run right by it. Although there's plenty of time this preseason, the Cardinals haven't proven a strong ground game is a weapon.

PASS RUSH:

There's no chance Todd Bowles is going to lose any sleep game planning to defeat the Vikings. Bowles will call his defense and evaluate individual player's ability to execute. He will have little interest in showing any of his blitzes. None of that means that one player shouldn't be able to simply beat his man and hit the QB. The Cardinals need more people than Abraham that can pressure the QB without a coaching scheme.

JOHN BROWN:

Just keep the show going. No critiques, just continue to prove yourself.

JAY FEELY:

There's real pressure for the kicker spot. The worst would be to release Feely, only to have it proven that was a mistake to take a rookie kicker. Not only does Jay have to be perfect to match Chandler Catanzaro, but he also must prove his kickoffs will be much deeper into the end zone to set up better field position. Jay will win any tie because he's a veteran. Right now, Jay is not tied.

Thursday, August 14, 2014 @ 10:37am

Ellington the focal point?

By: Ron Wolfley

Andre Ellington is running receiver routes. He has all camp but I've noticed more of this lately, the final manifestation of an offense that will try to get him the ball in many different ways. He motioned out of the backfield and ran one of the prettiest 5 routes I have ever seen. He's going to represent a nightmare match-up whether they put a safety on him or a backer.

There are so many ways the Cards can get him the ball but...that really got me thinking. The Cards have so many weapons and one ball.

Larry should have a massive year. The Japanese Fighting Fish is going to draw single coverage more times than he's seen in the last three seasons, combined. Michael Floyd is trending to eclipse last year's 1,000-yard season and should have a monster year. His understanding of the offense, commitment to being a great player and overall athleticism has improved…and this is weird. It doesn't typically happen where scouts are talking about somebody improving their athleticism but the evidence is there: Floyd is smoother, not nearly as stiff as he once was in the hips and upper body and he's catching the ball more naturally than I've ever seen him. Ted Ginn Jr. can run and is a threat merely because he can still run by many DBs. John Brown is getting ready to explode on the national scene. John Carlson does nothing but catch balls all over the field every day. And the TD that was called back on Saturday is just a shadow of what he can do, especially in the red zone.

And now you have to get the ball to Ellington? The Cards have a great problem on their hands: they have weapons. And this is one more reason why I think Carson Palmer is going to get paid after this year! If they can protect him, he's going to explode.

Getting Ellington the ball is paramount but making him the focal point may prove to be a ruse in the end. There's only one ball.

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