Training camp drudgery taking toll on Cardinals
AUG 20, 2013 2:12p ET
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Camp doldrums have officially settled over University of Phoenix Stadium. When asked Tuesday if he had reached the point where he was ready for camp to end, here’s what defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said:
“I wanted camp over the second day I came. I have no problem with the two-a-day schedule. It’s football. But I just want to lay in my own bed.”
Sunday’s day off might have been the greater factor, but coach Bruce Arians also noticed a drop in performance at Monday’s practice.
“That’s the third time we’ve come back off a day off and had a poor practice,” he said. “The other two were in pads outside, so I kind of (attributed) some to the heat. Now, it’s just a matter of learning how to practice after a day off. After a day off, you should be fresh as a daisy.”
With the regular season fast approaching, Arians wanted to drive home a point.
"It was the first practice where I thought we took a step backward,” he said. “Hopefully, it was a good lesson for us. There were few mental errors, but the tempo and speed of practice wasn’t quality."
Monday’s practice ended early, but that wasn’t a reward or a nod to the team’s poor performance.
“I probably should have started practice over,” Arians said before explaining. “We’re still in training camp time frames as far as the CBA, but we’re in actual, in-season practice reps now for a game.”
It’s been mentioned before how Arians like to simulate game situations as much as possible, so the practice lengths are a natural extension of that. There has been no official word yet, but it is also believed that the Cardinals will move their weekly practices to the afternoons to simulate game days.
It helps, of course, that they now have an indoor practice facility to escape the afternoon heat.
MIKE THOMAS JOINS RECEIVER MIX
The Cardinals added another receiver Tuesday when they signed former University of Arizona wideout Mike Thomas. He split the 2012 season between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions, playing the first seven games with the Jaguars and before he was traded to Detroit and played the final nine games with the Lions. He was released by the Lions Monday.
He entered the league with Jacksonville as a fourth-round selection (107th overall) in the 2009 NFL Draft. Thomas led the Jaguars in receptions in both 2010 (66 catches for 820 yards and four TDs) and 2011 (44 catches for 415 yards and one TD) and set a franchise record as a rookie with 48 receptions.
In 61 career games (32 starts), Thomas has 176 receptions for 1,796 yards (10.2 yard avg.) and seven touchdowns in addition to 34 carries for 268 rushing yards.
The first fight of training camp broke out Tuesday when receiver Charles Hawkins and cornerback Bryan McCann threw punches during special teams work. When asked why there hadn't been any fights earlier in camp, Arians said the team has a no-fighting policy.
Arians won't address the media again until Wednesday but he's certain to have something humorous or colorful to say about the upcoming punishment for Tuesday's altercation.
AFC NORTH PART II?
Arians was asked if the current NFC West is similar to the AFC North when he was a Steelers assistant and facing the Ravens, Bengals and Browns.
“Very similar other than it was predominantly drop-back quarterbacks: (Cincinnati’s) Carson (Palmer), (Baltimore’s Joe) Flacco, (Pittsburgh’s) Ben Roethlisberger and either Brady Quinn or whoever Cleveland had at the time.
"The mobile quarterbacks in this division change it a little bit, but they’re all power running teams with very good defenses; very physical.”
Receiver Andre Roberts missed Monday’s practice with what Arians called a “tender ankle.” Roberts was expected to sit out again Tuesday afternoon. Linebacker Reggie Walker also missed practice Monday with food poisoning, although he was in the stadium in uniform.
“He spent most of the day in the bathroom,” Arians said, laughing. “He ran out just in time for the (post-practice) breakdown.”
As practice ended, Walker ran past several reporters with a sheepish grin on his face.
There were no new injuries suffered in Monday’s practice. Arians expected the handful of players who returned on Monday to get more reps on Tuesday.
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