The Arizona Cardinals ended their mandatory mini-camp on Thursday, thus ending the offseason work for the team until training camp, which signals the start of the preseason and new season of football.
For Arizona, a team coming off a 10-6 season in which they just missed the playoffs, they are practicing with a mission in mind. Head coach Bruce Arians used the words "great," "intense" and "fast-paced."
Wednesday's practice was particularly fast. The team got off the field 20 minutes ahead of schedule and ran nearly 100 plays.
The team is doing better in the situational drills they have been running, as well.
Arians explained that last year they ran the same situations. "We just didn't have a clue what we were doing," he said.
"Now the guys understand," he continued. "It's on tape and whatever happened during the season, we can cut it out and show them the scenario today, and it makes much more sense to them."
While there continues to be "a lot of hollering and screaming" by the coaches, it isn't at the veterans. The young players, yes, but that "is normal."
Quarterback Carson Palmer addressed the "good work" in practice.
"It's really easy to be stagnant and kind of be status quo this time of year, but we've gotten better every day," he explained. "You can see the improvement...Guys are getting more confident and comfortable, and that's a very good sign this time of year."
Now the team will have a few weeks off, but that doesn't mean that they take it completely off. Players, if they are wise, will continue to look over their classroom material. That is especially important for the young players.
"Young guys (need to) continue to read (their) notes, continue to study," said Palmer. "(The team) will give us iPads and we can go back and watch all our OTA practices and mini-camp, so it's a great opportunity to kind of wind down and get away because we've been grinding hard these past six, eight weeks, and really take a second to look bacl and watch yourself and watch yourself do right and wrong."
Downtime, study and then intensity in training camp. Hopefully that is the recipe for a season that does not end in disappointment.
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