- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 26, 2011

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Cardinals prepared for a frenzy of activity in the coming days, with players reporting to the training camp facilities in Flagstaff on Friday.

Under the timeline set by the NFL after its labor settlement, trades can be made as early as Tuesday, and the Cardinals are known to covet quarterback Kevin Kolb of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Quarterback is at the top of the Cardinals‘ priority list and the quicker they address that need, the better off they figure to be in the compressed training camp period.

Players are to undergo physicals Friday, then check in to the team’s training facility at Northern Arizona University by Friday afternoon, according to an announcement made by the Cardinals on Monday night.

A mandatory team meeting is set for Friday evening, with the first workout on Saturday afternoon.

The NFL had listed Arizona’s training camp start date as Wednesday, because the team plays its preseason opener at Oakland on Aug. 11, but logistically it was impossible to set up the start of camp in Flagstaff, where the team annually trains because of the 7,000-foot elevation and the accompanying fact that the temperature is well below the triple-digit misery of the greater Phoenix area.

Players are to report to Arizona on Thursday.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves were in meetings all day Monday and not available to speak to reporters.

They face a daunting task of putting together a roster in a hurry, a group that undoubtedly will include the usual large group of undrafted rookies that Whisenhunt has had since he came to Arizona.

But above all else, the team needs a quarterback. Drop-off at that position, with the retirement of Kurt Warner, was a major factor in the team’s rocky 5-11 season that followed two NFC West championships.

Kolb is thought to be at the top of the Cardinals‘ list, and there were widespread reports that Arizona might be willing to send cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a draft pick or two to the Eagles to get him.

With Derek Anderson about to be released, the only other quarterbacks on the roster are second-year players John Skeleton and Max Hall.

A capable quarterback is a necessity if the Cardinals want to re-sign star receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who is entering the final year of his contract.

Fitzgerald was at his camp at the University of Minnesota when word arrived that the players were going back to work.

“I know the coaches are chomping at the bit to get us back,” he said. “They haven’t seen their guys in a long time so it’ll be good to get us back and familiarize ourselves with everything.”

Fifteen Cardinals from last season are unrestricted free agents, including starting guard Deuce Lutui and starting center Lyle Sendlein. With the retirement of guard Alan Faneca, that means a possible turnover of the entire interior of the offensive line.

The team is unlikely to want the aging Joey Porter back at outside linebacker. Nose tackles Bryan Robinson and Gabe Watson are unrestricted free agents, as is defensive end Alan Branch.

Wide receiver Steve Breaston, a standout in the team’s previous season, was bothered by a knee injury in a subpar 2009-10. He also is a free agent.

If the Cardinals say goodbye to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Greg Toler is the heir apparent with first-round pick Patrick Peterson expected to immediately make an impact at the other corner position. Arizona could be free agent shopping for a cornerback, too.

Free agency, Fitzgerald said, “is going to be like nothing we’ve ever seen before.”

And that first preseason game is just around the corner.

“I don’t think the product will be as good early,” Fitzgerald said, “especially if we have to play a preseason game as it’s scheduled on a week’s practice. That’s going to be tough.”


AP Sports Writer Jon Krawczynski contributed to this report.

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