Veteran cornerback Ralph Brown (20) has been a mentor to rookie cornerbacks Marcus Brown (36) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
On most days following the Cardinals' organized team activities, veteran cornerback Ralph Brown remains on the field long after the workout is over.
And he keeps with him a pair of rookie cornerbacks – Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie and Marcus Brown. The trio work on footwork drills, and in the locker room, the three often talk after practice.
That Ralph Brown is willing to help isn't unique unto itself. Receiver Anquan Boldin was doing the same thing in minicamp with Early Doucet, and cornerback Eric Green has given pointers to both Rodgers-Cromartie and Marcus Brown.
What does make Ralph Brown's gesture notable is that his place on the roster is not a lock. Rodgers-Cromartie is going to be on the team regardless, but if the undrafted Marcus Brown were to make the squad, he could easily be taking Ralph Brown's spot.
"I love helping people out, in terms of making people grow," Ralph Brown said. "And I am secure in what I can do.
"As long as I focus in on doing my job, hey, they have to make their decisions upstairs and a lot of different things come into play, but I do my job. If I do my job first … that's the only reason I am helping them, because I know what I am doing on the field."
Ralph Brown had the same mentoring role with undrafted rookie cornerback Michael Adams last year. After he received similar mentoring in his early days with the New York Giants from veterans Jason Sehorn, Michael Strahan and Dave Thomas, Brown only wants to pay it forward.
It's been invaluable to Marcus Brown, who said he thinks his transition to the NFL has been quicker than he expected, in large part because of Ralph Brown's help. And Marcus Brown scoffed at the idea he might take the veteran's spot.
"I know he's going to be here. He'll be here," Marcus Brown said. "It is surprising, because what I was told was guys won't help you, but Ralph is helping me. He isn't worried about (losing his job)."
Ralph Brown said he just likes helping younger players, period, including answering money questions or helping set up businesses outside of the game. Coaching is just part of the equation.
"That's what I do every day with Marcus and Dominique, 'Let's do extra. Let's do some footwork drills,' " Brown said. "I get excited to see guys grow, to hear them say, 'Ralph's the guy who helped me grow.' "
A BIGGER PLAYBOOK
The Cardinals, after installing some of the red-zone offense on Tuesday went to the two-minute offense Wednesday, and coach Ken Whisenhunt acknowledged it was a "jumbled mess" at times as players were thinking too much.
But Whisenhunt also said that was nothing out of the ordinary for this time of year, and added that the playbook would be larger for 2008 compared to 2007.
"We are doing a lot of things this year that we couldn't even think about last year, from the standpoint of checks at the line, package plays, calling two plays in the huddle and running one based on the defense," Whisenhunt said. "We are so much further along.
"Some of the base things we are doing a lot better. It will allow us to have a bigger playbook. We did scale it back (last year), but then we built off of that and we got to a point where we were pretty proficient offensively."
Whisenhunt said he expects second-round pick Calais Campbell to put on some weight, but said he thought any weight gain for the 6-foot-7 defensive end would be natural. Campbell is currently listed at 282 pounds.
"Right now he looks every quick and very explosive and I don't want him to put on too much weight to hinder that," Whisenhunt said, adding that Campbell's desire and attention to detail has been surprisingly good. ….
Many of the University of Arizona football coaches, included head coach Mike Stoops, watched Wednesday's practice. "For schools like Arizona and Arizona State and NAU, to have that interaction, it is great," Whisenhunt said. "Because at times they have some good football players and we need things from them, so it is a good exchange."
Contact Darren Urban at email@example.com. Posted 6/4/08.