|Cardinals open camp with new coach but without top pick|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 27 July 2007 16:03|
Coach Ken Whisenhunt brushed aside the absence of offensive tackle Levi Brown, the No. 5 overall selection in this year's draft. Brown has yet to reach a contract agreement with Arizona.
``My policy and our policy has always been that we're not going to talk about players that aren't here,'' Whisenhunt said. ``I'm excited when Levi gets here, but with him not being here, we're not really going to talk about that.''
Instead, he talked about using the camp to build the foundation of what he wants to be a tough, smart football team in the mold of the Pittsburgh Steelers, where Whisenhunt was offensive coordinator before replacing the fired Dennis Green in Arizona.
``I think the biggest thing is the chemistry,'' he said. ``We have to build that chemistry and that foundation so that when the season starts we can be a competitive football team.''
Whisenhunt joined a franchise that has had just one winning season since 1984, and one playoff victory in more than a half-century. They were 5-11 last season but feature perhaps the best tandem of wide receivers in the NFL in Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. They also have a promising young quarterback in Matt Leinart and a top running back in Edgerrin James.
``I guess that's all a matter of how you look at it,'' Whisenhunt said. ``I'm excited about what we can do. I think the players are excited about what we can do and the work we put in in the spring. If you look around at our team and you assess what we have at the positions, talent-wise and competition-wise, then I feel good about going forward.''
Cornerback Eric Green said there's a different feeling about this camp than those in the past few years.
``There's a different type of energy,'' he said. ``It's a new staff. Everybody's looking forward to it. It's the new Cardinals. That's the way it's going to be. We're going to forget about everything that's happened in the past.''
Among the top priorities in the coming weeks will be on the offensive line, a major weakness a year ago. Several personnel changes were made, and ex-Steelers assistant and longtime NFL standout Russ Grimm was brought in to handle the job.
Several players will face tough adjustments to the team's new 3-4 defensive set.
The players will go through conditioning tests on Saturday with practice beginning on Sunday on the Northern Arizona University campus, where the elevation is about 7,000 feet.
The Cardinals play their first preseason game Aug. 11 at Oakland. They open the regular season at San Francisco on Sept. 10.