Leonard Davis understands he isn’t playing well. He also seems to realize people are wondering if the onetime No. 2 overall draft choice is bothered by it.
"I have real high expectations," the Cardinals guard said. "Higher than what most people think."
Davis had his worst game as a pro against Dallas last weekend and has struggled ever since breaking his hand in training camp. The hand kept him out until the first week of the regular season — "They say I practiced (on a limited basis), but I didn’t," Davis said — and then he badly sprained an ankle on the first series of the first game. The ankle, which Davis will have to deal with all season, kept him out two other games.
After having to play tackle last season in place of an injured Anthony Clement and then moving back to guard, the third-year player admitted he is having trouble.
"I feel like (I am) . . . halfway through my rookie year, that’s how I feel now," Davis said. "Playing guard, playing tackle, making the switch back, there is a difference. It’s hard for it to be natural. I have to do a lot of thinking, more thinking than I should."
That will only come with practice time, coach Dave McGinnis said, referring to Hall of Fame players he has been around like Walter Payton and Mike Singletary.
"They knew if they didn’t practice, they wouldn’t be what they wanted to be on Sunday," McGinnis said.
Davis said he simply has to "grind it out" this season. Asked if his health would allow him to take out his frustration on someone, Davis smiled at reporters.
"I’m healthy enough to take it out on someone," Davis said. "(But) not you guys."
McGinnis said defensive tackle Wendell Bryant continues to work out on his sprained ankle but said it would be a game-time decision whether Bryant would play Sunday. But Bryant insisted he will be able to play against Baltimore.
"I am going," Bryant said. "I’d rather get on it now and see how it is before the bye week."
Kicker Bill Gramatica (back) remains out, although defensive end Calvin Pace (groin) and linebacker LeVar Woods (groin) returned to practice.
Injured running back Emmitt Smith declined to officially speak with the media, although he did say he expected to be out about four to five weeks. . . .
After signing linebacker Raynoch Thompson and punter Scott Player to contract extensions, the Cardinals now have about $10.3 million in salary cap space. Thompson reportedly got a signing bonus of $2.6 million, more than double his 2003 salary to $1.24 million, and will get $2 million a season for 2004 through 2007. Player got a $450,000 signing bonus, a raise this season to $730,000 and salaries of $600,000 and $700,000 for 2004-2005.
Linebacker Ron McKinnon said he had been fined for his hit on Dallas tight end Jason Witten last week, a blow that broke Witten’s jaw. McKinnon said he would appeal the decision.