New Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3), along with reserve QB Brian Hoyer, sets to deliver a pass Monday during the team's first day of Phase II work at its Tempe factility.
The players finally got a chance to talk football with their coaches a couple of weeks ago, but the playbook was nothing but theory at that point.
Testing out the plays live on the field, however, began Monday as the Cardinals graduated into the Phase II portion of the offseason schedule.
Coaches were allowed to work with players, and while the offense and defense aren't allowed to go against each other and with helmets remaining in the locker room, the evolution of Head Coach Bruce Arians' offense and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles had its tangible stepping-off point.
"It's just a process," guard Daryn Colledge said. "Most of these guys have been playing football
for a long time. The NFL is a copycat league. Everyone is running the same thing, it's just a different way to call it, a different way to do it. It's about us making the adjustments, being in the right place, knowing the language of it."
The Phase II portion of the offseason work lasts three weeks, although the Cardinals get a mini-break from that next week when the team – with its new coaches – is allowed to hold a three-day voluntary minicamp. That will take place Tuesday through Thursday, wrapping up earlier in the day as the NFL Draft begins late Thursday afternoon.
After the minicamp, the Cards will go back to following Phase II rules. Their organized team activities don't begin until May 14.
"We've been in the classroom for a couple weeks now so we pretty much know what the coaching staff wants out of us," cornerback Patrick Peterson said. "We know the playbook thus far pretty well."
The coaches have been installing the playbook a little at a time. The team continued with meetings Monday prior to the on-field work.
Carson Palmer had his first series of passes as Cardinals quarterback while the offense went through a series of playcalls and shifts putting the new verbiage into practice. The defense, without an offense to go against, spent most of their time walking through what defensive coordinator Todd Bowles will want them to do.
"It's definitely hard" with all the standing around, Peterson said. "But at the end of the day, we've got to fly by the rules."
There will be plenty of time to work together anyway. Besides, each side of the ball has kinks to work out regardless.
"Coaches understand there will be growing pains," Colledge said. "There are things they are trying to figure out too. They are expecting improvement every day, so tomorrow should be better than today."