Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cardinals' Thursday Pool Report

John Czarnecki served as the pool reporter at the Arizona practice on Thursday. We present the report in its entirety, as provided by the NFL (with small formatting changes). Of note is the fact that some Cardinals' scout teams players are dressing up as Steelers, players who are on the injury report as having limited participation in practice may have been a bit more active than one might believe, and Neil Rackers had an iffy day.

Well, the rains came about an hour into practice, but the Arizona Cardinals continued to work through a steady drizzle before completing a 2-hour and 15-minute practice at the Tampa Bay Bucs’ practice facility. Coach Ken Whisenhunt kept most of the work on the center field of the three-field complex.

“I think it helped us because it didn’t bother us,” Whisenhunt said of the conditions. “We focused on what we were doing and I think we had really good work again today. Who knows? It’s not supposed to be like this on game day, but if it does rain at least we got a lot of work in with wet balls and operating on a field that is a little bit wet. The thing I was most pleased with was that we were able to continue our work and perform without letting it distract us.”

This was the team’s first practice rain since the memorable rainstorm last Christmas Day in Tempe, Az.

“But it was about 40 degrees that day and it rained a lot harder than this,” Whisenhunt said. “It was a constant rain. We had puddles on the field and that’s something you never see in Arizona. It was miserable.”

Arizona’s injured defensive players Travis LaBoy and Antonio Smith both worked extensively while running back J.J. Arrington did some offensive reps, but was held out of special teams’ work at the end of practice.

“We were worried about him slipping and doing something to his knee,” Whisenhunt said of Arrington.

For the two major practices here, the Cardinals have had scout defensive players wear the jersey numbers for Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley and Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu.

“It helps our receivers and Kurt (Warner) in order to identify defenses,” Whisenhunt said of the common practice method. “Where a certain defensive player shows up, you may have plays predicated off of that. Now, this is something we do all year on a weekly basis. I saw one thing this year before Tennessee played Pittsburgh they had a player running around on the field with a big long wig hanging out of his helmet to impersonate Troy (Polamalu).”

Cardinals field goal kicker Neil Rackers had one close call with the left upright in special team drills. He bounced a 37-yarder off the upright that went through for a good kick and later barely snuck another kick through from the same distance before drilling his last kick, a 42-yarder deep solid perfect.

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