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Playing Nice At Practice

Posted Aug 25, 2010

Cardinals, Titans have good, clean work in intersquad session

Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (right) battles with Titans receiver Marc Mariani during punt coverage drills at Wednesday's practice between the two teams.


NASHVILLE – Calais Campbell came off the end on fourth down, swooped toward Titans quarterback Vince Young, and reached out.

The Cardinals’ defensive end reached for Young’s shoulder, to get a touch “sack” during the teams’ two-minute drill at the end of Wednesday’s practice. Instead, Campbell clipped Young’s hand – a no-no at practice, and Titans’ coach Jeff Fisher reiterated to everyone moments later “Don’t touch the quarterback!”

But the ball still fluttered incomplete. And it was a victory the Cardinals were willing to take as they took on the Titans at Baptist Sports Park.

“I just wanted to let him know it was a sack,” Campbell said. “He’s alright though. He said he was good. I’m not too worried no more.

“We had a real good time. It’s unique. We don’t know their calls, we don’t know their formations, we don’t know anything. It was fun to just compete. It was like a game situation.”

It was competitive to a point. The teams – who just played Monday night – didn’t have any fights during the workout, which lasted a little longer than 90 minutes. Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said he and Titans coach Jeff Fisher discussed ahead of time the expectations for tempo and competition. The players followed through, Whisenhunt added, although there were a few swear words and good-natured taunts uttered at times.

“People expect different things,” Fisher said, “but we got exactly what we wanted out of this practice.”

One of those things was that no Titans got hurt. The same couldn’t be said for the Cards, who had linebacker Will Davis leave after aggravating his right knee bruise (Whisenhunt said he’d be OK) and wide receiver Darren Mougey suffer a hand injury (the extent is unknown). With Larry Fitzgerald (knee) and Early Doucet (abdomen) already sitting, the receiving corps would take another short-term hit if Mougey has to miss any time with a preseason game Saturday in Chicago.

Still, Whisenhunt was clearly pleased afterward, thanking the Titans and Fisher for agreeing to the workout. This deep into the preseason, quality practices aren’t guaranteed, and Whisenhunt felt the circumstances provided the right motivation.

“I wouldn’t say we were concerned but we were curious with how this would be,” Whisenhunt said. “It turns out it was fantastic. I told our team at the end, ‘We got better today.’ That’s really all you can ask for at the end of training camp.”

Quarterback Matt Leinart noted that it was good because even though the practice outline was the same as the ones the Cards had been using through camp, it was nice to have a defense giving different looks.

“They aren’t sitting on a lot of our stuff because they don’t know what we run, so it’s more like a game-type thing,” Leinart said. “It wasn’t just a walk-around. Both teams went hard.”

But, said Titans running back Chris Johnson, “it wasn’t really feisty.”

Even when Campbell slapped at Young and caught his hand, cooler heads prevailed.

“It’s just fun and games,” Campbell said, before wide receiver Steve Breaston, standing nearby, piped up.

“It’s never fun and games,” Breaston said. “It’s practice.”
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