Defensive backs (from left) Rashad Johnson, Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson and wide receiver John Brown take part in Friday's conditioning test.
The gruff, old-school, make-them-suffer-so-they-succeed coaching style that lives within Bruce Arians can't help but chuckle at the present-day conditions of training camp.
The Cardinals did their run test at University of Phoenix Stadium on arrival day Friday, and the air conditioning kept them comfortable. Afterward, they shuttled back to their neighboring hotel, a far cry from the dorm rooms the team used to board up in during the month-long season primer.
"Camp Cupcake," Arians said with a smile. "I hate to use the word 'camp' when we come here. One practice, one walkthrough and then you stay in a hotel."
But mixed within Arians' old-school ideology is an appreciation for the new setup. The Cardinals have nice locker rooms to use, a spacious training room and a pristine field. Arians approves of the current conditions because the players are proving they won't take them for granted.
Arians was pleased with the whole group's conditioning in their first day back together as a team, as everyone passed the test and "there was nobody even close" to failing. Cornerback Patrick Peterson, linebacker Kevin Minter and tight ends Darren Fells and Troy Niklas – who is currently out with a hamstring injury – were highlighted by Arians as players who look to be in peak physical condition.
The script was designed to have everyone run 20 40-yard dashes, but it was cut short because of the across-the-board impressive display.
"I would have been shocked if they weren't in great shape," Arians said. "(Strength and conditioning coaches) Buddy (Morris),
Roger (Kingdom) and Anthony (Piroli) have done such a great job all year in changing body types. Now with the nutritionists on board and all the things we're doing at the complex, I'm really pleased with how our team looks physically."
Last year, nose tackle Dan Williams was called "sexy" for the shape he was in entering camp. This year, it was nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu who received praise, although Arians didn't shower him with any colorful adjectives. Still, it's notable because Arians said Ta'amu ate himself out of a job last year, and his spot on the defensive line is unsettled with several new pieces coming in. An in-shape Ta'amu was productive in 2013, and getting that player back would be helpful.
"It was impressive to see some of the guys who are bigger be in really good shape and move so well," defensive end Calais Campbell said. "I'm talking about Alameda Ta'amu."
The first training camp practice is Saturday at 2 p.m., when fans will get their first chance to watch while the players get back to action after nearly two months away.
There's a part of Arians that wants two-a-days and grueling heat, but more than anything, he's just glad to have football again.
"I've been anxious to get back," Arians said. "Ever since last season ended, I wanted to get this one started."