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Second Field Work Helps Rookies Develop

Notes: More reps means more experience; returning to work; Arians writing a book


Cardinals safety Matthias Farley (33) celebrates after picking off a pass during second-field work last week.

Wide receiver Jaron Brown and safety Tony Jefferson are familiar names on the Cardinals now, but as undrafted rookies in 2013, they were just faces in the crowd.

Luckily for the duo, the crowd was thin enough for them to get noticed.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has long been a fan of a two-field system in the offseason, planting the top players on one and the rookies and backups on another. Jefferson and Brown took advantage of it by standing out as rookies, and the current batch of new players hopes to follow those footsteps.

For the Cardinals, it's a necessary step in speeding up the evaluation process.

"If you're a rookie, you get four reps a day in 10 practices versus 42," Arians said. "You're not getting exposed enough. Our guys are getting all the exposure they can (handle). They probably would like to have a play or two off.

"We're going to try and do a little bit more of it in training camp this year to have two drills. You can't find a diamond in the rough standing on the sideline."

For Arians, the idea was borne out of necessity more than 40 years ago. Arians said the colleges he coached with sometimes had 300 players on the roster.

"That's the only way we practiced," Arians said. "At Alabama with coach (Bear) Bryant we had four fields."

Arians said the system works because there are enough coaches to give input to the players. Team president Michael Bidwill has allowed Arians to beef up the staff over the past few years.

The young players are grateful for every repetition they are given as they aim to get up to speed before training camp.

"That's very beneficial because you're not just watching them get better, you're getting better also," rookie defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche said. "We're working for a spot, too. You're just really trying to figure out every way possible to become better each day."


Like the rest of the working world, the Cardinals returned to their jobs on Tuesday after a long weekend. Arians was interested to see if the players would be sluggish, but the returns were good.

"Each year, you kind of judge them on days off – how good of a football team you have at the next practice," Arians said. "I was very encouraged with watching us practice."

Arians said it's a precursor to when it really matters, during the season when the players practice on Wednesday following their usual Tuesday break.

"You can't come back … and have bad Wednesday practices and then be worth a damn," Arians said.


Lars Anderson, a New York Times bestselling author who works for Bleacher Report, announced Monday night that he is penning a book with Arians.

The collaboration, titled "The Quarterback Whisperer" is scheduled to be released in 2017.

"Some guys have been after me to do this for a long time," Arians said. "Now I found out how easy it is. I'm going to sit down with Lars Anderson this summer and finalize it."

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