Cardinals defense ahead of the offense early in camp
Flagstaff, Ariz. – Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell said this is the
time in training camp where the defense will be ahead of the offense.
It sure seemed that way at the team’s annual Red and White scrimmage,
where an estimated 14,500 fans saw the offense muster just one
touchdown drive out of 15 different offensive series.
“We came into [Saturday] saying we wanted to dominate, so that was the
whole plan,” safety Kerry Rhodes said.
That may have been the plan, but it led to an uneventful – even difficult to
watch – afternoon, especially if you were hoping to see the Cardinals QB
battle play out. John Skelton, who started the day under center, completed
just two passes, while Kevin Kolb was picked off twice.
Sure, there were bright spots, as Ryan Williams ripped off the longest play
of the day with an impressive run, and rookie Michael Floyd made multiple
catches that made you go “oh, that’s why they drafted him”, but all-in-all it
was a day the offense will have to learn from.
“You’re going to have you ups and downs, you know, with four practices
under your belt,” Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb said. “Offensively, as a whole, we
didn’t do real well.
“But there’s things to build on. We’ll look at the film and move forward.”
Larry Fitzgerald, who had a fairly quiet afternoon, feels like there is no area
the team cannot afford to improve in.
“Overall execution, we need to pick it up,” the Pro Bowler said. “We
obviously need to complete more passes when we get opportunities, we
need to protect, we need to run block, we need to to do everything.”
The good news is there is plenty of time for those improvements to
happen. The season opener is still six weeks away, and even though they
may not have shown in Saturday, you know there are weapons on the
offensive side of the ball.
And, for the real optimist, the better news may be the idea that the defense
dominating could be a sign that the group is ready to pick up right where it
left off last season, when it emerged as one of the NFL’s better units.
“We’re a very talented team, well coached, and I feel like if we play our
game we can shut down anybody,” Campbell said.
Including his own team.