Second Corner Spot a Hot Topic at Cardinals Camp

The quarterback competition is getting all the attention at the Cardinals training camp.

The battle at cornerback is equally intense.

Patrick Peterson has one cornerback spot nailed down. The other is the only position up for grabs on a defense that is considered the strength of the team.

Among the candidates are Greg Toler, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, free agent signee William Gay, former starter A.J. Jefferson and promising rookie Jamell Fleming.

Michael Adams, a special teams standout who saw considerable time at the nickel position, is in the mix as a possible backup.

“There’s going to be a player or two that we’re going to have to release that’s going to be able to play for another team,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said Thursday. “That’s not something that we’ve always faced in the last few years, but we’ll see how it all pans out.”

There have been many times in past seasons, Whisenhunt noted, that the team has had to scramble to find cornerbacks if one or more went down with an injury. This year appears to be different.

“I feel very good about the quality of cornerbacks that we have competing for spots out there,” he said. “We’ve got some very good young players, we’ve got some strong leaders. I think not necessarily just the corners, but the secondary in general has got a chance to be a strength for us.”

Toler had been thought of as a starter before he tore his left ACL in training camp a year ago. The 6-foot, 190-pound defender had made great strides after coming in as a raw rookie in 2009, a fourth-round pick out of tiny St. Paul’s (Virginia).

He is being brought along cautiously in the early days of camp. Toler said he tried to talk trainer Adam Reed into allowing him to remove his knee brace, but failed.

Still, just being able to practice was invigorating.

“This takes the cake,” he said. “Training camp always brings the best out of guys.”

Whisenhunt said that after such a serious injury, Toler has to get comfortable at one of the most challenging positions in the game.

“It’s a process for him,” the coach said. “I think especially at that position, with as much turning and stopping and starting that you have to do as a corner, that he’s got to get a feel back for it.”


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