GLENDALE, AZ — The annual Red-White practice for the Arizona Cardinals Saturday had a little extra meaning this year. It was the most fans at State Farm Stadium since two seasons ago.
Fifteen thousand on hand, far more than the 4,200 allowed for a couple of games last season
“It definitely was fun having the fans in the building. It’s always good to get the energy,” said left tackle D.J. Humphries. “But, obviously, I never can even pay attention to the crowd till we get to the sidelines because most of the time I'm blocking somebody like Chandler [Jones], so I just need to focus on that versus what's going on in the crowd.”
Fans weren’t able to see J.J. Watt or A.J. Green in action, nor rookie speedster Rondale Moore. Prior to practice, Kliff Kingsbury ran through the laundry list of guys not available today, even Larry Fitzgerald.
“Not today,” he paused and said with a smile.
It certainly wouldn’t be difficult for Fitz to get up to speed if he did decide to come back, but what about guys like Watt and Green who have both been around the league a long time, but now find themselves on a new team? Does that worry Kingsbury?
“Really, you don't just because you know what you got,” the Cardinals head coach said. “Those are very proven quantities in this league. And we'll continue to get them around the team, their teammates, get them in meetings, get them in walk-through, and when they're ready to go, though, they'll play at a high level.”
The defense certainly got the better of the offense, highlighted by new corner Malcolm Butler winning the one-on-one battle against DeAndre Hopkins. But the play of the day came courtesy of another new corner, Darqueze Dennard, with the pick-six of Kyler Murray.
And for those concerned with the Cardinals kicking woes from last season, new kicker Matt Prater was 5-for-5 today.
“I think it's just being confident, and anytime I go out there, whether it's an extra point in the first quarter or a 50-yarder at the end of the game, I expect to make every kick,” said Prater, who is going into his 16th season. “I think when you expect the results to be there, usually you come through with them.”
Now the Cardinals get into game week. Monday starts the preparations for Friday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys at State Farm Stadium.
“We're definitely excited to hit someone else,” said Humphries. “It's gonna be fun.”