The Arizona Cardinals report to training camp today for the 2015 season. After a long off-season, players showed up to the University of Phoenix Stadium for a conditioning test. The test consist of sprints from the end-zone to the 50 yard-line, with one minute rest breaks in-between runs.
This is the start of four weeks of battling for position to make the 53 man roster, and several positions are up for grabs.
There are many new faces from coaches to players joining the team this year, and many eyes watching specific guys with great anticipation. The first player that comes to mind of course will be quarterback Carson Palmer, coming off a second career ACL injury. The question remains can he pick up where he left off last year.
Many names to watch including new comer tight end Germaine Gresham, who was acquired through free agency on a prove it one year deal. Gresham should help the team in the most needed spot for several years, the tight end position. If the still young tight end can get to the playing level that most believe he could coming out of college, that will add a dynamic that is much needed to make this offense go. The tight end will not be as dominant in the Arians offense as a Jimmy Graham type player, but a big tall guy with good hands could propel this offense from good to absolutely dangerous.
There are two players that come to mind that need to have bounce back seasons, corner back Patrick Peterson has had two mediocre seasons, and in many eyes has not played up to the level of the numbers on the contract. Peterson may have not been completely healthy last year, after reports of having diabetes issues that could have played a role in his conditioning. The star corner back is 100 percent healthy and this is a no excuse year for him to prove he belongs on the top of the DB’s star list.
Running the football will be the next important part of the offense, and Andrea Ellington will have to come back and show he can hold up for a full 16 game season. Head Coach Bruce Arians has already admitted that he may have used the small stature back way to much and has learned his lesson in that aspect.
Ellington will have plenty of help in the running load, and his carries will be few going in-between the tackles. Ellington will still be featured in the pass game because of his dynamic speed and route running and receiver like hands.
The receiving core will be salivating to get chunks of yards with Ellington as a decoy at times, this will be exciting to see if it goes accordingly.
This years training camp may be the most highly anticipated of all the past two years, because this team looks primed to have a predominantly healthy year, due to the schemes. Injuries are going to be a part of the game regardless, but being as close to healthy at season’s end is the goal. The Cardinals have not been at full strength in quit some time. A healthy Cardinals team on paper looks like a Super Bowl contender.
Fans will be packing the stadium to see their favorite players this weekend and get the opportunity to see the 2015 Cardinals come together.
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