Quarterbacks Sam Bradford (left) and Mike Glennon take part in a recent Phase One workout.
The Cardinals have their first work on the field – football work, as opposed to straight conditioning – next week when they hold their extra voluntary minicamp.
New quarterback Sam Bradford might not be doing much.
"The biggest thing is to make sure he's ready to play 16-plus games (in the regular season)," coach Steve Wilks said Tuesday. "I've seen him through the years. I'm not concerned about trying to get him out there as quick as possible to throw the ball."
Wilks, echoing what strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris said last week about prepping Bradford for the season, reiterated the Cardinals will have a plan to "give Sam everything he needs to be successful."
"(We're) not really trying to rush it," Wilks added. "He knows his body more than us. We're trying to make sure we are
giving him the things he needs on a day-to-day basis so he feels healthy when he goes out there and he feels very confident."
Bradford missed most of last season in Minnesota because of a knee injury that needed surgery midway through the year. He did return in the playoffs to serve as Case Keenum's backup. He said when he signed with the Cardinals the knee was feeling "good."
After claiming both Alek Torgersen and Brandon Doughty off waivers last week, the Cardinals have three quarterbacks (including backup Mike Glennon) besides Bradford on the roster for the minicamp.
The minicamp runs April 17-19. The draft is the following week, as is the beginning of Phase Two work (on-field football work with no helmets, no offense versus defense.) Phase Three starts on field (helmets, offense versus defense) May 15.
Wilks said this initial minicamp will give players a chance to see how this coaching staff conducts practice, a chance for the coaches to get their players on the field and not just in the classroom, and the first time the new playbook can be physically run.
"I want the guys to get acclimated to how the coaches coach, on the grass, the teaching philosophy, and see how those guys move around in a team setting," Wilks said at the recent owners meetings. "It's more up-tempo but not as fast as a true minicamp."
The minicamp will also be the first chance for the Cardinals to try out a new 4-3 base look on defense, although Wilks – reiterating that players like Chandler Jones and Markus Golden are best when "moving forward" rather than dropping into coverage – shrugged off such a tweak because of the Cardinals' recent past.
"When you really look at what we did here last year, 70 to 75 percent of what we did was over front, which is a 4-3," Wilks said.
As for the upgrades elsewhere in the NFC West, particularly with the Rams, Wilks said he wanted to "commend those guys" but "when you pull the layers back, we have a lot of talent as well."
The confidence Wilks holds in his team -- and himself -- has not wavered, regardless of how the offseason has played out in others' eyes.
"Right now, we're flying below the radar," Wilks said. "And that's great."
Images from the first day of Cardinals cheerleader auditions.