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Beating The Heat

Notebook: Temps bring mental toughness; Fitz to lose weight


Some Cards try to stay in the shade under the tent during practice Monday.

Wide receiver Stephen Williams had been lying on the floor before climbing up on the stool in front of his locker, saying with a smile, "We need to go back to Flagstaff."

The Cardinals got back to practice Monday, and after coming off the field about 12:15 p.m., were feeling the heat they knew was coming after a month in the cooler temperatures of northern Arizona.

Ultimately, they are hoping it can benefit them.

"When they talk about football being mentally tough, that's the perfect example," Williams said. "Can you make it through practice at a high level when the heat is just pounding you and you're getting tired?"

Quarterback Kevin Kolb acknowledged the Cards were "sweating a little" but the Texas native would rather have early-season heat than late-season cold. Generally, the players didn't look much different than most practice days.

The Cards will go on the field about 90 minutes earlier Tuesday, but that's in part because they are schedule to attend the annual Kickoff Luncheon at University of Phoenix Stadium. The heat isn't going anywhere anyway, since it will be warm (although maybe not quite this warm) for at least another month.

"The first thing to go when you are dehydrated is memory, you forget your routes, things like that, so honestly, it does condition you to push through," wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. "You have to find a way to persevere."

Fitzgerald flew down the field to nab his 80-yard bomb-and-run touchdown Saturday, but he insisted he isn't as fast as he could be because he needs to lose weight. At 223 pounds, Fitzgerald wants to get to 214 or 215 pounds.

"Whiz calls me fat all the time," Fitzgerald said. "(Strength and conditioning coach) John Lott calls me fat, so I have to get down another seven or eight pounds. At 214, I'll be good there."

Fitzgerald used to play around 225 pounds before Lott arrived and convinced him to slim down.

When seeing mistakes after watching film of Saturday's game, quarterback Kevin Kolb said there "plenty on my part." But he continues to feel fixing those things are under the Cards' control.

"What is crazy is again, it's just us," Kolb said. "We are making the big play, we just have to clean it up, and it's the same thing every week. But everyone can see the playmakers are out there."

Kolb said he does expect to play in the preseason finale against Denver Thursday but, like every game, "they don't tell us how much."

The Cards continue to monitor the players who are out, and Whisenhunt wasn't saying much about their status other than they were progressing. The short week for a game makes a return more difficult. Whisenhunt said he hoped rookie tight end Rob Housler (groin) would be able to play so he can continue to get some live reps. Same goes for third-string running back Alfonso Smith, who hurt his hamstring playing special teams before getting a chance to run the ball.

Quarterback John Skelton (ankle) and wide receiver DeMarco Sampson (hamstring) are also working to return.

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