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Arizona Cardinals OTAs: A new practice standard?

Will the Cardinals pioneer a new way of practicing in the offseason?

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The Arizona Cardinals were doing something unique in their organized team activities, at least in their first session Tuesday. As noted at, with the expanded 90-man offseason roster, the Cardinals did not go about practices the same way as most team apparently do it.

Rather than having a lot of downtime for players, the team split of the team into roughly the first and second teams on one field, where head coach Bruce Arians spent the whole time, and then had the other half of the players run a simultaneous practice on another practice field.

It meant that everyone got twice the reps.

"We wanted to make sure we maximized the opportunities our rookies got," Arians said after the first full-team practice of the off-season. "You can't find a diamond in the rough if (he's) standing on the sideline watching. You can find one if he's out there working."

The strange thing is that, as elementary as this seems, Arians said that it is not something he has seen in his more than 20 years in the NFL.

Of course, since Arians spent all of practice working with the first and second teams, he does not get to see firsthand what happens with most of the rookies. He watches tape, but it requires trust in his staff.

It is easier to do this with an increased coaching staff.

What is not certain is whether this will be a practice that continues throughout the offseason, or even into training camp and the regular season. It obviously is something valuable to do right now with a new staff trying to install a new offense and new defense.

Undoubtedly this will be something that other teams will inquire about. I would not be surprised if the NFLPA pokes around a little bit, just to see if this perhaps violates anything with practice rules and the CBA.

For now, though, it seems ingeniously simple. Get more looks at the young players and you make your team that much more prepared to use the schemes they are learning.

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