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Arizona Cardinals 2014 Training Camp Preview

By John McMullen, NFL Editor

(SportsNetwork.com) -

REPORT DATE: July 22 (rookies), July 25 (veterans)

SITE: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ

CAMP CONFIDENTIAL: The Cardinals were the best team in the NFL which didn't reach the postseason in 2013.

The strength of that club was its defense, particularly the front seven, but the unit took a major hit in the offseason when star inside linebacker Daryl Washington was lost to a year-long drug suspension. His absence was only magnified by the fact his running mate, veteran Karlos Dansby, jetted to Cleveland in free agency.

Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles will be looking at a host of players to replace his two stalwarts with 2013 second-round pick Kevin Minter and former Pittsburgh star Larry Foote having the inside track.

KEY OFFENSIVE ACQUISITION: Perhaps Arizona's biggest weakness -- the offensive line -- was addressed in free agency when the team brought former Raider Jared Veldheer in to play left tackle. That move, along with the return of immensely talented guard Jonathan Cooper (last year's first-round pick) from a broken left fibula should solidify things in front of quarterback Carson Palmer, who will turn 35 late in the 2014 season.

"It's a little early but he's a mammoth of a guy and he sure looks pretty legit out here," Cooper said when talking about Veldheer this offseason. "You know a player when you see one."

KEY DEFENSIVE ACQUISITION: Foote, who signed a one-year contract with the Cardinals shortly after the Steelers released him, is 34 but will be expected to lessen the impact of losing both Washington, who was the team's best defender, and Dansby, who provided an underrated and under appreciated veteran presence in the middle.

PRESEASON SCHEDULE (All Times Eastern):

Aug 9 - vs. Houston, 8:30 PM Aug 16 - at Minnesota, 8:30 PM Aug 24 - vs. Cincinnati, 8:00 PM Aug 28 - at San Diego, 10:00 PM

07/17 13:29:13 ET

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