Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is an old school football coach. With limited practice time, he doesn't like to lose any time. He does not have the team stretch together, as he expects players to come onto the practice field ready to go, having done their stretching themselves.
He runs hard, physical practices within the limits of the collective bargaining agreement.
During OTAs, he runs two practices on two different fields, giving more players more reps for the coaches to watch.
He is impatient about players getting hurt.
But he is willing to make changes, as is evident in some of what the team is doing in terms of monitoring players.
Since Buddy Morris joined the organization as the team's strength and conditioning coach, he started monitoring receivers' and defensive backs' steps and the distance they run.
"Last year, I thought we overworked them," Arians said to reporters after the team's first OTA practice. "There are times when we got into OTAs seven and eight there was some fatigue factor."
The fatigue would lead to "soft tissue injuries" like hamstring injuries.
With the help of Morris, the workload of the players is adjusted according to how much they have run.
Receiver Larry Fitzgerald thinks is worth praising his head coach for the changes.
"Coach Arians has been coaching for 40 years," wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. "This technology is about five years old and is really only in the grass roots stage. This sports science, all of this technology at our disposal wasn't available for him most of his career. I think it says a lot about him that he would embrace this. It shows he wants his players fresh and ready for the long haul."
Arians believes the NFL rules tend to cause injuries.
The once-allowed two-a-day training camp practices are in the past. In camp, "you are only allowed to practice three hours (a day), so you practice three hours (in the afternoon)," Arians said. "Most injuries come in the last 45 minutes, and it's a fatigue factor because of a dumbass rule."
Arians is willing to change because he hates injuries, especially in the offseason and training camp when every practice is an evaluation. he regularly calls out players for their time on the training table.
He was very pleased with the conditioning of the players entering the offseason, which can be credited to the dedication of the players and also the work of the training staff.
You don't often find old school coaches willing to do things differently. Arians is willing to do so. That willingness will hopefully yield results in terms of health later in the season and in a reduction of certain injuries on the offseason.