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Teaching At Minicamp

Posted Apr 23, 2013

In the early stages, Cardinals still working on basics of what Arians wants

Quarterback Carson Palmer delivers a pass during a minicamp practice Tuesday.

Carson Palmer politely corrected the question, because “coaching” was not what was happening on the Cardinals’ first day of voluntary minicamp Tuesday.

“Teaching,” the quarterback said. “At this point, it’s not so much coaching as teaching.”

From the way to call the snap count to the way the Cardinals now huddle, “it’s new for a lot of guys,” Palmer added. “The coaching comes in after we have a ton of repetitions.”

That fits in with the style of new coach Bruce Arians, who often talked about his staff as teachers when he took over. As a first-year coach, the rules allow for an extra voluntary minicamp prior to the draft, and the Cardinals will work through Thursday in their quest to eventually reach a level from which to coach.

“Teaching is what we do,” Arians said. “We are in baby steps right now.”

It didn’t hurt that the full roster was basically present (only wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was absent with a previous engagement and he is expected back Wednesday). The players had been on the field for a couple of weeks with the coaches, but under the CBA rules, offensive and defensive units had to work separately.

That changed under the minicamp umbrella.

“Now it’s full-go, 100 percent,” Palmer said. “A lot of stuff we were doing weeks before were kind of walkthrough speed. Now there is a defense, with Patrick Peterson and Dockett and Daryl Washington. Before, there were trash cans.”

The early lineups looked mainly as expected. The offensive line is as it was last year, with Nate Potter at left tackle with Levi Brown still rehabbing his triceps injury. Brown said his triceps strength is still not high enough to compete. Arians didn’t express concern that Brown would be ready when needed down the road.

“He’s not a soccer player,” Arians said. “We don’t need him in shorts.”

Defensively, Jerraud Powers has the initial starting cornerback spot across from Patrick Peterson, and with O’Brien Schofield still coming back off his foot injury, Lorenzo Alexander was working with Sam Acho at outside linebacker (and fellow free agent Matt Shaughnessy, a defensive end by trade, is also getting work at outside linebacker).

The early depth charts mean little until players come back healthy and the Cards go through the draft later this week, because those picks will inevitably force changes somewhere.

“It helps to set what we have,” Arians said. “We think we know what we have but as coaches, we see how these guys learn, probably more than how they play football. You don’t play football in just a helmet. Right now, how well do they learn, how fast can they play at this level? That’s a good barometer before the draft.”

The Cardinals will have another 10 organized team activities after this minicamp, along with an official mandatory minicamp in June. The on-field work, prior to training camp, is just starting.

“It’s fun to get out there with a helmet,” Arians said. “It will be better with shoulder pads too.”


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