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Cardinals Finish Up Camp

Team closes up shop in its first University of Phoenix stadium prep

The Cardinals held their last full practice of camp Thursday.

Room service no more.

The Cardinals concluded their last full training camp practice Thursday, closing the book on their first camp at University of Phoenix Stadium and under new coach Bruce Arians.

They'll leave the daily housekeeping and plush pillows of hotel life behind and move back to the Tempe training facility next week after their third preseason game, Saturday against the San Diego Chargers.

"I wouldn't say burnt out on camp so much as ready to be in our own beds," safety Rashad Johnson said. "No matter what, we are going to be practicing and doing what we do every day. Being in your own home when you have downtime is definitely something a lot of us have been missing out on."

But training camp produced the results it was supposed to.

Although the dorm atmosphere wasn't there this year, the players still spent the very large majority of their days together, in meetings and meals. They bonded over movies, card games and backgammon.

On the field, the progress was noticeable but predictable. The Cardinals had to take a few steps back before moving forward.

"There are a lot of mistakes made," quarterback Carson Palmer said. "We harp on the mistakes but there have been a lot of good things that have happened. There's been lot of growing, a ton of improvement from individuals getting better at their crafts but more importantly units getting better playing together. I've seen it across the ball on defense, they've gotten better.

"I think we've gotten a lot better at the run game. We've gotten a lot better at pass protection. The pass game has come a long, long way. I think it's been a great camp."

The end of camp doesn't just signal the end of their luxury hotel stay. It's the unofficial beginning for Week 1 preparations.

"I'm looking forward to the season starting more than camp ending," safety Jonathon Amaya said. "I understand it's a lot of preparation to get where we're trying to go."

Amaya relished the downtime with his teammates. As one of more than 50 new faces on the roster, getting to know his teammates was as important, if not more, than learning the playbook.

But being able to practice in their home stadium has been an advantage for the Cardinals.

"It's been awesome to be in the stadium," Arians said. "Practicing where we're playing. Great teaching atmosphere here. I thought it was one of the better camp sites I've been at."

Just because camp is over doesn't mean the Cardinals will stop preparing, Palmer said. The site will be different and their beds will be more familiar.

And for some, that's the most important thing.

"I've been wanting camp over," defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. "I've wanted camp over the second day we were here. I just want to lay in my own bed. I have no problem with the two-a-day schedule or anything. That's football. But living in a hotel, I just don't like that.

"But it is a time to bond our team together, get to know each other, get to know them on the field off the field. It's cool. I'd just rather lay in my own bed."

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