New coach force-feeds his system in first mini-camp Print
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Friday, 13 April 2007 12:57
NFL Headline News

 TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -Ken Whisenhunt took the practice field for the first time as an NFL head coach Friday, and wasn't sure where to go.
``I don't know where to stand on the field,'' Whisenhunt said after directing the Arizona Cardinals through the first workout of their voluntary mini-camp.
Joking aside, the former Pittsburgh offensive coordinator and his staff plan to force-feed the team's new offense to the players during the three days of workouts.
``It's not so much trying to make them fail or make mistakes,'' Whisenhunt said, ``but make them understand how much they have to study or how much they have to work on. If you come in and make it too easy, they'll get the idea of 'we've arrived' or 'were comfortable with what we're doing' and maybe they won't study as much.'''
All the Cardinals showed up except offensive guard Milford Brown, who is getting married this weekend.
Edgerrin James went through a full practice and brushed aside any questions about the minor arthroscopic surgery he had on his right knee in the offseason.
``A little scratch,'' he said. ``I was in and out the same day and that night was hanging out in clubs and stuff. Everything's normal. I'm just out here doing what I'm supposed to do.''
The new offense will be a change for James, who will have a fullback joining him in the backfield on most plays. Although he's been in a one-back system his entire NFL career, he said the switch is no big deal.
``I heard a lot of people saying that I'm just used to one back,'' he said, ``but when I came out of college I had a fullback in front of me, so I had to adjust to being a one back. It's nothing, man. I can go out and play however we do it. As long as we're consistent with what we do, there's nothing to adjust to.''
Whisenhunt believes James will have no difficulty moving to the new system.
``He's a talented running back. He has very good vision. I think that it's more of a timing issue with Edgerrin,'' Whisenhunt said. ``Certainly there will be some one-back things that he's more accustomed to that he'll do. But he is a very good NFL running back, and I think that he was adjust fine.''
Matt Leinart entered his second season as an NFL quarterback far more comfortable than he was a year ago and welcomed the opportunity to play for Whisenhunt, who replaced the fired Dennis Green.
``I think he's going to bring a different attitude to this football team,'' Leinart said, ``an attitude that's been missing for a while. I think he's going to make us mentally tougher. We're going to compete, we're going to be fast, we're going to be scoring points, we're going to be sustaining long drives. We're going to be doing all the things we need to do to win football games.''
Of course, optimism comes easy in April.
While James called the new coach ``super-cool,'' he said he'd have to wait until the end of the season to compare this staff to the old one.
As often as Whisenhunt wants his team to run the ball, James will need some solid backup help. Right now, that spot will go to either Marcel Shipp or J.J. Arrington, but there has been speculation that Arizona might use its No. 5 pick in the draft to get Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson.
``That's up to them,'' James said with a smile. ``They don't need a running back, but when you have a lot of money and you want to buy something, you go buy it.''
The most often heard names as potential Arizona picks are offensive tackle Joe Thomas of Wisconsin and defensive end Gaines Adams of Clemson.
Whisenhunt said the team's offseason moves will allow the Cardinals to focus on overall talent and not one specific position.
``If you said we had an area of need maybe going into the free agency, it was the offensive line,'' he said. ``We addressed that, so I think that gives us the flexibility to look at the best player available.''
 

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