The first day of offseason workouts had just begun when
“It’s foreign, man,” Dockett said. “Foreign as hell.”
That was seven weeks ago. The players, working out together almost daily, have created a chemistry you’d expect. Bonds have been formed by now. Yet that doesn’t change the overall vibe in a locker room that in many ways is starting from scratch.
“You can definitely tell the transition period that’s going on,” said cornerback
There are the raw numbers: Of the 90 player currently on the roster, 27 are rookies, with another 21 veterans who weren’t with
It comes with a new general manager and a brand-new – and bigger – coaching staff, making the learning curve crucial not only to new players but even those who were sticking around. And many of the players no longer around weren’t just end of the bench material, but contributors (Adrian Wilson, Kerry Rhodes, Greg Toler, Quentin Groves, Paris Lenon Beanie Wells, Kevin Kolb/John Skelton, William Gay, Early Doucet) who helped formed the dynamic of the locker room.
“It’s the nature of the business,” said holdover tackle
“Any time there is a coaching change they are going to want to change the culture. That has to do with coaching style and ability and a lot of time that has to do with the players that are here. Coaches here before like certain players and (the new coaches) don’t necessarily like the same players. So they go out and find the players they like. Not as many guys left from the old regime.”
At one point during 11-on-11 drills in the midst of Thursday’s OTA, the Cardinals had
One of the new guys is actually a once-upon-a-time old guy. Dansby was a six-year Cardinal through 2009 before leaving to play three seasons with the Miami Dolphins.
When he signed his one-year contract last week, he felt the blend of a homecoming and the locker room revolution. Upstairs, on the business side of the building, there were still plenty of faces he used to know.
“The faces in the locker room, yeah, they’ve changed a lot. Tremendously,” Dansby said.
It’s a unique way to come together when everyone starts from scratch.
“It feels kind of good when you are starting with everybody new,” said Bell, another one-year contract signee. “You are all starting to learn together, learn each other’s habits. You get to see everyone’s personalities. You get to see how everyone reacts to different things. You get to go through a whole new scheme with everyone.”
As with any recipe, however, it’ll be judged on the final product. The newness has to fade sooner rather than later. Foreign has to morph into foundation.
“We’ve got to build from the ground up,” Dansby said. “That’s what we did last time. Took four or five years to get it done, but we got it done. This time we don’t have that kind of grace period so we have to speed this thing along ASAP.”