Thu, Oct. 17

2004 Cardinals Training Camp<br>Redbirds Reloaded

Staff photo by Jared Dort

THE Cardinals spent a lot of money to sign Larry Fitzgerald (14), and in just the first week of practice he's showing he's worth every penny.

Haven’t we seen this before?

Last year Arizona brought in some savvy veterans only to finish the season with a 4-12 record. Quarterback Jeff Blake proved ineffective and Emmitt Smith missed most of the season with an injury.

Disappointment? Yes, in every way.

Despite a lackluster performance, fans continue to flock to the Redbirds training camp at the Northern Arizona University practice facility in hopes of seeing something different. It’s been just five days since camp opened, and some of those hopes are already being fulfilled.

What makes the 2004-05 season any different then the past 14 miserable season? For starters, a new no-nonsense-type coach has taken over. Sure, the Cardinals had that in the past with Buddy Ryan, but Dennis Green, Dave McGinnis’ replacement, is of a different breed. His first big move before camp was cutting center Pete Kendall. Some say the ax came down because he complained too much.

Cardinals fans, on the other hand, won’t be complaining if their team can make it to the postseason, something it’s only done once since coming to Arizona in 1988.

Green certainly has playoff experience, not to mention a winning record during his 10-year stint in the NFL. As the coach for the Minnesota Vikings, Green was 101-70. He took his team to the postseason eight times and won four NFC Central Division titles. Also worth mentioning, Green is one of only three coaches to collect 15 wins in a season.

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