Rim country football fans hoping for a sneak peak at the Arizona Cardinals have about two more weeks before the team breaks camp in Flagstaff.
Arizona held its annual red-and-white scrimmage Friday evening in Walkup Skydome and returned to its usual two-a-day practice schedule yesterday Monday. Those practices will continue until the Cards travel to Minnesota Friday for a preseason game at 5 p.m. Aug. 14.
Two-a-day practices at Northern Arizona University usually on the fields just east of the Skydome are from 8:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. and about 4 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.
Every other day, the afternoon practice is devoted to special teams play.
After playing at Minnesota, the team returns to its Flagstaff camp Aug. 16 before breaking camp Aug. 19.
Before journeying to Flagstaff to catch a practice, call the fan hotline at (520) 523-2273. Practice times can change at the last minute and in case of rain, the sessions are moved inside Skydome.
After leaving Flagstaff and playing San Diego at 7 p.m. Aug. 21 in Tempe, training camp moves to Ken Lindley field in Prescott from Aug. 23 to 27. Practices there will be about 8:45 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 5 p.m.
Whether traveling to Flagstaff or Prescott, fans will have the opportunity to watch future Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith in action.
New coach Dennis Green surprised almost everyone in preseason by promoting the ex-Cowboy star to first team over the Cards leading rusher of last season Marcell Shipp.
In a team scrimmage Friday in the Skydome, Shipp suffered a dislocated left ankle and the initial diagnosis was that he would miss eight to 12 weeks. Later, it was learned he also had a broken leg and could be sidelined for the entire season. Shipp's loss could be a huge blow to the Cardinal offense.
In Flagstaff, fans also have the chance to check out third-year quarterback Josh McCown who has only three starts to his credit but has been named the starter by Green. McCown will try to engineer an offense that finished a woeful 27th in the NFL last season.
As bad as the Cards were offensively last season, they were even worse defensively giving up an average of 344 yards per game.
That was under a different coaching staff. Dave McGinnis is gone and Green has been brought on board to see if he can change the fortunes of a team that has long been the Rodney Dangerfield of professional football.
It's tough to get too excited about a team that finished 4-12 last season but training camp offers fans a glimpse of professional football that you can't get high atop Sun Devil stadium or on the wide screen.