Training camp is over. The Cardinals had their last practice at State Farm Stadium Sunday, and now move back to Tempe for the balance of the preseason. There was celebration in the locker room. More or less.
"Not for me," cornerback Patrick Peterson said. "I'm kinda sad. The suspension is starting to become a little bit real now."
Peterson's practice time figures to dwindle significantly now, although he was out there Sunday. His suspension kicks in the first week of the regular season, so the Cardinals only have five regular practice days left (thanks to the short week for the preseason finale) before Peterson must vacate the premises.
"I think we have the guys who can pick up the slack until I get back at least," Peterson said, acknowledging that the broken leg of fellow starter Robert Alford made that much more complicated.
It was definitely a camp that took its toll on the defense. Linebacker Haason Reddick got hurt within the first 15 minutes of the first practice, and while Reddick was out briefly Sunday watching part of practice he still hasn't returned and it'll be close whether he will be able to be ready for the season opener. Starting defensive end Darius Philon was arrested and subsequently cut. Then came Alford's injury. The Peterson absence was already staring the Cardinals in the face.
What coordinator Vance Joseph does for that opener might be as interesting to see as what Kliff Kingsbury does with his offense.
-- Peterson talked about the Alford injury, suffered during the team's outdoor practice last Tuesday. Peterson said he saw it from the backside, He said Alford broke to defend a pass but got his foot stuck in the ground before the receiver leg-whipped him.
"I thought it was just going to be a bruise," Peterson said, before noticing Alford grimacing in pain and rolling on the ground. "I kind of knew it was going to be something severe but not that severe."
-- GM Steve Keim said the hope was that Alford might be able to return around midseason. Peterson seemed to temper his optimism. "Hopefully we get him back this season," Peterson said. "We will keep our fingers crossed, but if not, we have to continue to make sure we get behind the guys that are here."
-- With the final practice of camp under the closed work rules, there isn't much that can be reported outside of the early stretching and individual drills. Linebacker Chandler Jones and offensive linemen A.Q. Shipley and Marcus Gilbert had the day off. Wide receiver Hakeem Butler missed practice again, and we'll see if he can return during the week or if there is a chance he misses the Vikings game.
-- Offensive lineman Mason Cole returned to practice after missing Saturday.
-- I know there are questions about the free-agent visit of veteran defensive lineman Corey Liuget, but obviously no deal has been reached. We'll see if that changes at some point. GM Steve Keim has said the Cards will keep looking into potential veteran signings.
-- Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was back after missing practice to attend the funeral of former position coach Darryl Drake.
"It was a sad day but I was really happy I was able to be there," Fitzgerald said. "He meant a lot to me, he meant a lot to a lot of people."