Here are my observations from Wednesday at Arizona Cardinals camp:
I got the chance to talk to the Cardinals assistant GM for an extended period of time. Smart yet personable. So strange is the personality of a good scout. You have to own amazing confidence because it is a job that includes colossal failures along with the striking successes. He’s got that ability to balance both.
MICHAEL FLOYD/ CARSON PALMER
Two seconds left in the game. Cards down by more than 3 but less than 9. We don’t know the real score because they don’t use a scoreboard. We just know the lead was more than 3 because the field goal unit wasn’t hurrying onto the field.
Floyd ran into the end zone from the six starting from the right slot. He tried a “Z” cut and then wanted to sit down. Palmer threw a lob intending for Floyd to fight for the alley-oop. Floyd was ready for the bullet pass when he turned around. Pass falls incomplete.
The Cardinals lost the game. Palmer and Floyd talked about the play for the next 10 minutes. I have no idea what they said but the hand gestures were wild. There wasn’t anger as much as there was expectations. Floyd did not communicate like a lost rookie. He knew what he wanted. Palmer knew what he saw. Executing the play would have been better but watching the interaction makes one believe failure will be confined, more often, to practice.
DARREN FELLS VS. ANDRE HARDY
Jake Ballard retired Wednesday morning. With the great camp Fells is having, it seemed natural that a great story was beginning. A 28-year-old basketball player had the door opened. He didn’t walk through.
Fells lost Wednesday to Andre Hardy. All eyes were on Fells and he dropped two passes while Hardy keeps improving. Every practice, Logan Thomas throws to Hardy and both players are the last men off the practice field. Wednesday, Thomas did not stay. Hardy did. He caught passes from the jugs machine and was still there 20 minutes after practice.
In the two minute drill, Hardy caught two passes, one for a touchdown.
Wow! What a privilege to be standing so close to a great display of intelligence and athleticism. It happened so fast, I didn’t even catch the number of who he was covering. After the play, I didn’t bother to look at the receiver since I was so amazed at what I saw.
Palmer dropped back to throw a fade to the back left corner of the end zone. Cromartie’s back was to the quarterback. As the receiver leaped for the ball, Cromartie jumped as well. Cromartie shot his left arm up through the gap between the receiver’s outstretched arms and the rest of his body. As he reached, Cromartie turned his arm so the palm of his hand was facing the quarterback and the oncoming ball. Close to becoming a touchdown, Cromartie’s hand reacted like a Venus fly-trap as the ball hit his palm. Instantaneously, Cromartie’s palm felt the ball, his fingers closed around the ball. The football appeared to freeze in place.
The receiver looked for the deflected pass which was a fruitless wish. As he stared upward waiting for the ball to come down, the other defenders mobbed Cromartie. The receiver quickly realized they were celebrating Cromartie’s interception and not a deflection.