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Arizona Cardinals 2-field practices not new idea, could happen some in training camp

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The seemingly novel idea is something Arians saw in 1975.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals-OTA Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

One of the staples of offseason work for the Arizona Cardinals under head coach Bruce Arians is the use of multiple fields -- one for the first and second team players and the other for the third and fourth team. It is so the young players get work.

"The young guys got a ton of reps, and some of them are improving," Arians said after practice on Tuesday. "Like I always say, you either get exposure or you get exposed, and that's why we practice the way we do."

While it might seem novel for the NFL, it isn't anything new. Arians said the idea came from about 1975 at Alabama when he was a player under Bear Bryant. "We had about 300 guys in college and that was the only way we could practice," noting they practiced on four fields.

He explained it works with the Cardinals because of the coaching staff.

"It all comes down to coaching staff," he said. "(Team president) Michael (Bidwill) gave us the ability to have a large coaching staff so that there are a pair of eyes on every player." Between full-time coaches and their coaching interns, they have the staff to evaluate the players on both field and give them the instruction they need.

"It's not any good if they're not getting coached."

So far in three years, he has only really used in in OTAs. He is going to try to do it more in training camp.

"If you're a rookie, you get four reps a day and 10 practices (in OTAs) vs. 42 (which they get on the second field)," he explained. "We're going to try and do a little bit more of it in training camp."

Arizona has had success with their undrafted rookies. Several have made the team and become important contributors -- Tony Jefferson, Jaron Brown, Chandler Catanzaro, Xavier Williams, Alani Fua, among others.

Arians tries to build the best team he can with the best players, no matter where they come from. And when it comes to doing that, he wants his players to show what they can do.

"You can't find a diamond in the rough if he's standing on the sidelines."