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For Cards, So Much To Learn


Running back Tim Hightower gets a drink during the Cardinals' first organized team workout Tuesday in Tempe.

Cardinals defensive coordinator Bill Davis was talking about the overwhelming amount of information force-fed to the roster during organized team activities.

"It is a time of year when you are allowed to be confused," he said.

And there was certainly some of that already, linebacker Karlos Dansby said after the first voluntary workout Tuesday at the team's Tempe facility.

"We are going to make mistakes," Dansby said. "Let's be real, we are human and we are going to make mistakes. But getting an opportunity to come out early, it's good to get (the mistakes) out of the way earlier rather than later."

The rookies returned finally – at least most of them. First-round draft pick Beanie Wells doesn't get to practice (nor does undrafted rookie receiver Shane Morales) because the quarter has not yet ended at Ohio State and Oregon State, respectively.

Given the voluntary nature of the work, it probably wasn't surprising that a chunk of veterans also did not appear at the initial on-field practice, although only two – wide receiver Anquan Boldin and defensive lineman Darnell Dockett, both of whom disgruntled with their contracts – are expected to stay away for the duration of OTAs.

The others who were absent -- quarterback Kurt Warner, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and safety Adrian Wilson among them – should participate at some point. Coach Ken Whisenhunt, scheduled to meet the media Wednesday, was not available for comment.

Still, absent players never seem to faze the players that are taking part.

"Anquan wasn't here last year and receivers had to step up and fill the void," wide receiver Steve Breaston said. "It carried into the season. You get younger guys that learn their assignments a lot faster because they are forced into situations."

The learning curve of the plays is obviously not as steep for the veterans. Dansby said the defense actually asked for more plays to be worked in last season. Dansby chuckled and admitted the vets laugh "just a little bit" at the rookies whose heads are swimming with so much new information.

"You just hope they can catch on, because there is going to be a lot in the next couple of weeks. You don't have a prayer in Flagstaff if you don't get it now.


With Boldin and Dockett staying away with contract issues, Dansby was asked if he thought about doing the same, given that there doesn't seem to be progress toward a new contract.

"In my situation, no," Dansby said. "I can't afford to do that right now. The team gave me the franchise tag and I signed it, so I have to be here … They count on you to be around and do your part, to bring guys around and be a leader."

Technically, Dansby doesn't have to attend, although it is a good faith gesture for Dansby to take part. He is already guaranteed $9.7 million in salary this season. Previously, Dansby talked about making "a splash" in the 2010 free-agent market and it seems unlikely he will sign a long-term extension before the July 15 deadline. He declined to talk details of his negotiations but insisted he remains confident in the organization.


With labor issues looming in the near future – without a new collective bargaining agreement, for which the league and the NFL Players Association have just had preliminary discussions, there will be no salary cap in 2010 and a possible lockout in 2011 – veteran cornerback and player representative Ralph Brown said he has trying to inform and prepare teammates.

"I think a lot of guys just put it in the back of their minds, because they don't want the reality to set in that there is the possibility that there can be a lockout," Brown said. "A lot of guys are just focusing on football and taking care of their families and not worrying about what could happen. But I have been talking to the guys around the locker room saying this is a big possibility.

"(Owners) took away some of the coaches' pensions around the league. They are signing players to a lot of one- and two-year contracts. No one is spending to the salary cap the same way, so I just want to bring it to their attention. There may be no football, at least for half a season or maybe a full season in 2011."


As expected, New Orleans was awarded the right to host the 2013 Super Bowl at the current owner's meetings, leaving bids by Arizona and Miami out of the mix. It's the third straight Super Bowl bid by Arizona to come up short, after attempts at the 2011 and 2012 games. The Arizona Super Bowl committee is trying to get another game after a successful 2008 showing.

The Super Bowl in 2010 will be in Miami, followed by Dallas, Indianapolis and now New Orleans.


Five players sat out Tuesday's work because of injuries/rehab: linebacker Ali Highsmith (knee), tight end Stephen Spach (knee), running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (hamstring), nose tackle Gabe Watson (knee) and cornerback Michael Adams (toe).

Contact Darren Urban at Posted 5/19/09.

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