(Editor's note: In addition to his team reports, Jason Cole will share some off-field highlights and other observations of his preseason travel.)
It's another dreary, rainy day here in Flagstaff, Ariz., so the Cardinals are back indoors. Northern Arizona University's stadium, Walkup Skydome, is actually pretty cool. It seats roughly 16,000 and sits on a little hill at the apex of the campus. It gets pretty darn cold up here (remember, this is close to 2,000 feet above Denver). The floor of the dome is at 6,980 feet and there's a red line around the place at the 20-foot mark to show where you hit 7,000 feet. Thankfully, I again made it through the day without losing my breath. Still, I need to hit the elliptical machine. Making the top of Halfdome at Yosemite next offseason is still the goal.
Back to football
There's an old saying about quarterbacks I once heard from long-time NFL scout and executive Tom Braatz while I was in college. He said really good quarterbacks shouldn't miss throws in practice. They should hit everything, particularly in seven-on-seven drills where there's no pass rush. That brings me to Cardinals backup QB Derek Anderson(notes), who has a great arm and is a really good dude, the type of guy you cheer for because he's funny and engaging. However, Anderson is also a Nuke LaLoosh thrower (not to mention that he's a bit of a knucklehead, too). Anyway, during a series of five throws to receivers who were running skinny posts against air, Anderson missed badly twice. Now, some people will defend Anderson, pointing out he was a Pro Bowler in 2007 with Cleveland. Yeah, but if you remember, his top three receivers that season were Braylon Edwards(notes), Kellen Winslow(notes) and Joe Jurevicius(notes). Each of them is at least 6-foot-3. Get the point? At least the good news for Anderson is that the Cardinals also have a lot of tall receivers. … Speaking of tall receivers, the Cardinals had their quarterbacks do what is commonly known as the "trash can" drill Sunday. On an angle from 25 to 40 yards away, the quarterbacks threw passes hoping to get them in a standing trash can. The purpose of the drill is to practice throwing high, deep passes that receivers have a chance to go get on the leap. … While the Cardinals are concerned about guards Deuce Lutui(notes) (he reportedly was almost 400 pounds in June, but is down to 360 now, he said) and Alan Faneca(notes) (there's not a lot of tread left on the tires), it's fair to say the team might have the best all-around line I've seen so far in training camp and in the offseason. Not that any teams were hitting in the offseason, but the Cardinals do a nice job on both run and pass blocking. By contrast, Dallas can really run block but is pass challenged, and San Diego is the other way around.
Song of the morning
A couple of you sent me some interesting cover suggestions, although there was some pretty standard stuff like "All Along the Watchtower" by Jimi Hendrix (covering Bob Dylan). I didn't turn to that this morning, but I followed the Hendrix path to a superb cover of his "You've Got Me Floating" by P.M. Dawn. It's a sweet recording and a pretty good interpretation. You can get it off the "Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix" CD.
As I wrote Sunday, I went to Oregano's here and ate way too much. The best part of the Alfredo dish I had was a chargrilled Poblano pepper they throw in the middle of the dish, which mixes ever so slightly with the cream sauce. You probably have to skip the nutmeg in the sauce since it's going to get eaten alive by the Poblano, but the smoky flavor is a nice touch. The locals say there's another place called Brix. I haven't tried it. Maybe next time.