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Some Rookies A Bonus

Posted Aug 18, 2010

Notebook: Cards to wear black jerseys against Washington

Wide receiver Stephen Williams is pumped after grabbing a reception (and having his helmet knocked off) late in Saturday's preseason win.


FLAGSTAFF -- Rookie wide receiver Stephen Williams went undrafted, and coach Ken Whisenhunt had a simple explanation: “Because he was meant to come to us.”

Tongue was in cheek for that answer, and Whisenhunt admitted he didn’t know how Williams slipped through all seven rounds in April.

“I know we really liked him and that it was important when he didn’t get drafted to get him here as a free agent,” Whisenhunt said. “Even with all that, he has exceeded those expectations.”

Bigger picture, though, a find like Williams is a boon to any team. Draft picks are precious, and any team needs to be successful in those picks for to sustain a winning program. But to find potentially solid contributors undrafted is an extra, like when you put money in a vending machine and it spits out two candy bars instead of just one.

It can ease concern in other areas too. Third-round pick Andre Roberts is still trying to get acclimated to the NFL game and has had issues consistently catching the ball. Alone, that might set back the Cards. But with Williams, the Cards have some options to buy Roberts some time.

On the field, Whisenhunt said players’ draft status disappears into the background. Each player is being evaluated against the others at his position.

But “you can step aside from that and say, ‘Wow, looks like we have a pretty good young player that we got somewhere else other than the draft,’ ” Whisenhunt said.

“I don’t think more of them or less of them because of where they are drafted – we had a couple draft picks here that weren’t very good and didn’t make our team – but we’ve always had some young players that were drafted low or free agents that stepped up and played for us,” Whisenhunt said.

BLACK JERSEYS FOR THE REDSKINS

The Cardinals will wear their black alternate jerseys for the first time Sept. 2 for the preseason finale against the Redskins at University of Phoenix Stadium.

“Since unveiling these uniforms in April the response has been enormously positive, particularly from our players who I know can’t wait to wear them;” team president Michael Bidwill said in a statement. “We saw a lot of fans with the new jerseys at training camp in Flagstaff and they have also been anxious to find out when the team wear them for the first time. We think it’s just one more reason to be excited about the 2010 season.”

The Cards can wear the alternate jerseys twice in the regular season, although those games have not yet been announced.

NOT ALWAYS FOOTBALL

Whisenhunt, as he has done every training camp, took his team to the movies Wednesday morning instead of holding a full practice (although the Cards did go on the field to briefly work on some things). Like the day of bowling Whisenhunt gives his team every summer in lieu of one of the organized team workouts, it’s a break in the middle of 24/7 football that the coach thinks helps as the season nears.

“You talk about team building and everybody wants to lump that in, but it’s great to do things together other than just beating on each other,” Whisenhunt said. “I believe it makes our team stronger.”
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