Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, here making the tackle after being beaten in the Denver game, knows he has much to learn.
It's about the "short memory," and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie knows it.
But the second-year cornerback has a tough time forgetting that he didn't play well in the preseason game against the Packers and then got caught again on a long pass play during his brief stint against the Broncos in the preseason finale. DRC is expected to take a step forward this year and move closer to the "shutdown corner" into which the Cardinals hope he can develop.
He's not there yet.
"I know (ups and downs) are part of the deal," DRC said. "This is the next level. Now, as good as I want to be, I do get mad. I'm the kind of player, I usually go out and get it. I ain't used to just getting beat. So I do get frustrated. But do I get frustrated to the point it's going to mess with me? Nah. I ain't going to let it shake me."
Defensive coordinator Bill Davis said DRC is on the "front end" of the learning curve.
"At least now he's aware of what he doesn't know and aware of what he needs to work on," Davis said. "That's half the battle."
Davis said DRC has had a good "focused" week of practice. And that should be a good sign.
"It all comes down to practice," DRC said. "I had a lot of mistakes in practice (previously) and the same thing showed up, my eyes were bad in practice and they were bad in the game. It cost me. All I can do is learn from it."
BOLDIN DOESN'T WANT TO BE "STUPID"
Wide receiver Anquan Boldin didn't do much more on the field Friday on his bad hamstring, although he said he ran full on the side for the first time, which felt good. His status for Sunday will likely come down to Sunday – he's listed as questionable – and he said he doesn't want to be "stupid."
"It just kills you to not be out there and do everything you want to do," Boldin said. "But it's a long season ahead of us and you have to be smart.
"You don't want to risk being injured (again) and being out four more weeks. That'd be stupid. It doesn't make sense."
Boldin said he has never played in a game where he didn't practice the whole week, and Boldin hasn't had a full practice since he was hurt Aug. 25. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said it is difficult for a player to play in such a situation, although a veteran like Boldin could pull it off. Safety Adrian Wilson did do it against the Bills last season – and had one of the season's signature plays when he knocked out Buffalo quarterback Trent Edwards – but Wilson also was limited to about six plays that day.
"That's the dilemma – it comes down to, 'Is this first game worth not having him for a couple of games?' " Whisenhunt said.
THE END OF BRANCH
Whisenhunt said the ability of defensive lineman Alan Branch to play both end and tackle helped in shaping the final roster. It also means Branch will likely be active on Sundays to begin with because the Cards will need him in the line rotation.
For Branch, moving to end at times "feels like home," after he played there at times in college.
"There are some things I have to work on, because the difference between an end and a nose tackle or defensive tackle is how far off the ball the guard and tackle are," Branch said. "Once I get used to that, I don't see anything holding me back.
Branch said he thinks he can be good at disrupting the play at nose tackle but added "I definitely think defensive end and the 'three' technique is my spot."
Davis said Branch was on the "hot seat" coming into training camp, and his work – along with weight loss – helped him make the team as a backup.
"He had to step up and answer the call or he probably wasn't going to be here," Davis said. "And he answered the call. … He still has to keep going. He still has a lot to prove to all of us."
SUNDAY GAME A SELLOUT
After getting an extension, the Cardinals have sold out Sunday's game, meaning there will be no local blackout and it will be shown on TV. The game will be aired on Fox 10 in the Valley. There are still a very limited amount of seats left. To purchase, fans can go to Ticketmaster.com, call (800) 745-3000 or go to the University of Phoenix Stadium box office.
Besides Boldin, receiver Early Doucet (ribs) and quarterback Brian St. Pierre (back) are listed as questionable for the game. Receivers Steve Breaston (knee) and Sean Morey (ribs), along with safety Matt Ware (shoulder), are probable.
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