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Practice Begins In The East

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The Cardinals practice for the first time at Washington D.C.'s Catholic University on Wednesday in preparation for Sunday's game against the New York Jets.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The buses raced down Constitution Avenue through traffic -- aided by a police escort that isn't unique to the area – and sped past the Washington Monument, drove near the White House and moved toward the Capitol building.

The Cardinals were on the way to practice at Catholic University. Some were impressed with the ride, some weren't.

"I was asleep," defensive end Antonio Smith said. "That's my bad. I had to get my energy for practice."

On the other side was safety Matt Ware, who said he was fully alert for the ride and "I have an iPhone full of pictures."

The Cardinals were also alert for the workout that followed. Playing on the solitary football field at Catholic, the temperature was perfect (cool breezes and in the mid-70s), the sun was shining and coach Ken Whisenhunt said the workout was what he wanted.

"I thought the guys were focused," Whisenhunt said. "It was good today. I was pleased. The facility was nice and the people were great. Everything was very smooth."

The nickname for the Catholic sports teams also happens to be Cardinals.

Multiple players noted how the cooler weather helped – "I'm not even tired," receiver Anquan Boldin said afterward -- and there was a sense staying back East was going to be a benefit.

"I thought we responded well," Smith said, "and that was the only thing I was worried about."

BERRY STILL HURTING

Defensive end Bertrand Berry (groin strain) not only didn't practice but he didn't attend practice either as he got treatment on his injury. The Cardinals made a roster move likely related to the situation when they re-signed their sixth-round pick, linebacker Chris Harrington, to the practice squad, releasing receiver Onrea Jones.

Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, who has a sore hamstring, sat out practice, as did tight end Jerame Tuman (hamstring). Wide receiver Sean Morey (Achilles) also missed part of the workout.

For the Jets, quarterback Brett Favre was limited because of an ankle sprain, but he said he expected to start Sunday against the Cardinals.

SPECIAL ATTENTION

Whisenhunt said the Cardinals have committed six penalties on special teams over the past two games and cleaning up that problem will be a point of emphasis this week.

"Field position is such an important part of the game and those special-teams penalties are backing you up," Whisenhunt said.

The blocking on kick returns is another area that needs to improve, Whisenhunt said. While return man Steve Breaston should have downed one kickoff in the end zone, Whisenhunt said he wanted his players to be better at finishing.

Whisenhunt also said Breaston has done a good job at kickoff returns and he is not concerned about that facet of the game – meaning there apparently isn't any thought to activating J.J. Arrington for the job.

GONZO VISITS

Former Diamondback and current Marlin outfielder – and Cardinals' season-ticket holder – Luis Gonzalez was the team's guest at practice Wednesday. The Marlins are in town to play the Washington Nationals, and Gonzalez reached out to the team to attend practice.

Gonzalez was joined by Marlins closer Kevin Gregg.

"I like coach Whisenhunt's approach and obviously they are going in the right direction," Gonzalez said. "It's exciting for Arizona. They are starving for a winning football team."


Contact Darren Urban at askdarren@cardinals.nfl.net. Posted 9/24/08.

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