Cardinals players react after the final perfect snap signaled the end of minicamp on Wednesday.
The roars got louder with each perfect snap, and after the last one, a roster full of joyous players bounded off the practice field.
Coach Bruce Arians called off Thursday's final day of minicamp after Wednesday's work, raving about the focus and quality of play during this week's two sessions. The early end was granted when undrafted long snappers Daniel Dillon and Kameron Canaday – fighting for the job vacated by Mike Leach -- fired two flawless snaps apiece to holder Drew Butler as the entire team watched in earnest.
Dillon snapped and then Canaday, sending the Cardinals veterans home until training camp convenes on July 28. Arians ended minicamp early because the team has met his high standard, and he'd like to avoid any injuries before the break.
"I'm extremely pleased with where this football team is right now," Arians said.
Quarterback Carson Palmer said the decision was unexpected, but a welcome reprieve.
"It's nice to get these breaks and be rewarded for hard work and attendance and all the things we were rewarded for today," Palmer said.
The offseason went efficiently in part because so many key players returned from last season. The NFL has large turnover, but the Cardinals remarkably brought back every skill player from 2015's record-setting offense.
"It's a first for me," Arians said. "You very seldom get to keep all your guys at this level. The meetings are so smooth. The practices are so smooth."
The biggest challenge for the offense in training camp will be the jelling of the offensive line, which will have new starters at center, right guard and right tackle.
"Up front, that's really where we've got to get comfortable with each other," Palmer said.
THINKING OF OFFSEASON STANDOUTS
There were a few players who caught the eye of Arians during offseason work. He said tackle John Wetzel, guard Antoine McClain and guard Earl Watford were all impressive.
Arians and Palmer were also complimentary of the team's tight ends. Jermaine Gresham took less money to return to the Cardinals and is healthy after offseason surgery slowed him last year.
Darren Fells, Troy Niklas and Ifeanyi Momah have also impressed.
"I've never been around a tight end room as talented as this one," Arians said. "We had Heath Miller in Pittsburgh, but we didn't have four guys like we have."
Palmer said Fells lost 20 pounds this offseason and has been turning heads. While he's 30 years old, Fells was a professional basketball player until three years ago and is still improving on the football field.
"He's probably had, in my opinion, the best offseason," Palmer said. "He's made play after play after play."
MATHIEU FEELING GOOD, REMAINING CAUTIOUS
The Cardinals should be relatively healthy heading into training camp, with cornerback Patrick Peterson (ankle), cornerback Justin Bethel (foot) and nose tackle Xavier Williams (ankle) expected to be ready when it begins.
It's unclear if defensive tackle Frostee Rucker (ankle) and safety Tyrann Mathieu (knee) will practice from the start.
Mathieu said there's no specific timetable for his return, although he stressed he wants to make sure he's completely healthy before returning to the field.
"I've done a lot of cutting, turning and running," Mathieu said. "I feel great. It's more about me taking it slow."