10 practices of organized team activities (OTAs) are in the books. The Arizona Cardinals had good attendance overall and head coach Bruce Arians was pleased with how things went over the three weeks. He called the OTAs "outstanding."
" We got a lot accomplished as a football team in every phase," he said to reporters at the conclusion of the final practice. "Special teams, offense and defense got better and we're finding more and more about the young guys."
He feels there are young players who will be able to contribute this season, but he raved about how the players batted.
"The best thing about it was the great competition every single day," he said. "Our guys know how to practice and it was evident in the time frame we were out there."
Cornerback Jerraud Powers echoed the sentiment. "There was not a day we felt we didn't get better," he said, noting Arians wouldn't be shy about telling reporters or the players if they didn't get better as a team." He indicated "the offense was just clicking" and players weren't trying to learn things. "It was more so finding your tools," he said.
On the defensive side of things, there was some uncertainty to start things off, as the team enters this season with a rookie defensive coordinator. But after a couple of practices, "everybody was, 'OK, I see what we're doing; I see what we're getting at.'"
The result is a confident team knowing what they want and with a focus on success. Arians said the team's confidence level was "extremely high."
"They've accomplished a lot in two years, the guys who have been here," Arians said, and pointed out the depth the team has is making the players "excited and very confident."
"There's a lot of feelings of 'hey, we left it on the table,'" as Arizona started 9-1 and sputtered to an 11-5 regular season record and then a first round playoff loss in which they set a league record for offensive futility.
That is sticking with the players.
Powers believes the experience of last season was something on which to build.
Players now becoming veterans (Powers believes once you hit your third season in the NFL you have earned that status) had valuable success and pain.
"With what we went through lat year getting to he playoffs and just tasting a little bit, those guys know what it takes to make it deep in the playoffs," he said. He doesn't believe there will be any problems in confidence as a team "because we've had success the last two seasons."
Defensive end Calais Campbell can't wait for the season to start.
"I'm really intrigued to see what this team can do this year," he said. "This team is special. Talent's not the issue. Leadership's not the issue. We have all the pieces in place."
Give it another little while and it will time to put those pieces into play.