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Cardinals Camp Comes To A Close

Posted Aug 22, 2014

Understanding of Arians' system much better than a year ago

Cornerback Jerraud Powers walks off the field at University of Phoenix Stadium as the Cardinals finished their last practice of training camp.

The screaming and yelling hasn’t changed.

No, that still is present often in the Cardinals’ meeting rooms, quarterback Carson Palmer acknowledges with his deadpan delivery.

“It’s the same words, it’s the same sound in that room,” Palmer said. “You’d think we didn’t complete a pass or make a run past six inches.”

The Cardinals actually are much better offensively as the team wrapped up training camp Friday at University of Phoenix Stadium. The team is scheduled to run their “mock game” Saturday at the stadium to prep for Sunday night’s game against the Bengals, but camp has come to an end.

It was a different camp than the one the Cardinals held last year, in large part because Palmer and his offensive mates – screaming aside – are in a much different place.

“There is no comparison. You go form totally trying to learn a new offense and doing something wrong and getting screamed at and yelled at to now we are correcting each other and talking about things on the field. Even before we get to the meeting room we already know the alignment was a little off here, my read was a little off, we know those things as a group. I think that says more than anything.”

The defense was in a similar position. Last year “was like a Chinese fire drill,” safety Tony Jefferson said. “This year we had a different outlook. It’s just a bunch of hungry guys. You can tell. It’s totally different than last year.”

The camp itself went very smooth, coach Bruce Arians said. That’s not a surprise, since it is the second year the team stayed in town to hold camp and the bugs have been worked out.

Parts of camp went as expected. The offense being better, for one. The emergence of young wide receivers John Brown and Jaron Brown. The dominance of defensive end Calais Campbell. Parts weren’t, and those were usually attached to injury. Having linebacker Kevin Minter (pectoral) and guard Jonathan Cooper (toe) end up missing a large portion of camp didn’t help, and obviously the season-ending injury to Darnell Dockett will resonate all year.

Then again, the Cardinals did get safety Tyrann Mathieu and defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu back from their ACL injuries from last season.

“Obviously you are never happy with injuries,” Arians said. “Getting two guys back was shocking, I didn’t think either one of those guys would be back yet. Darnell was just as shocking. You know they are going to happen. It’s a matter of overcoming them, staying positive and marching on.”

The first cuts must come by Tuesday, although General Manager Steve Keim has said the Cardinals may do them Monday. With 88 players on the roster, 13 must be trimmed before the preseason finale Thursday in San Diego. The final round of cuts must be done two days later.

Arians said Palmer was probably the MVP of camp, both with his play and his leadership. There is little question Palmer has evolved into the guy all the players look to in that regard. Cornerback Jerraud Powers, Arians said, would be his second choice, echoing sentiments the coach expressed earlier in camp.

The usual comments from players have been the norm this week, about getting back to sleeping in their own bed and eating their own food. But this necessary month, the prelude of every season, provided the benefit the Cardinals hope to build upon.

“Personally, I like camp,” Jefferson said. “To me, and many might not say this, I think practice is harder than the games. We get to the game and you know what’s coming at you. In training camp we’re learning relationships with other guys and who you are trying to play with. It does help you create a bond that helps throughout the season.”

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