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The End Of OTAs

After this week, most Cardinals off until training camp


Guard Reggie Wells works on a drill with the offensive line during OTAs.
Organized team activities aren't the glamorous part of the season, not with games – even preseason games – still weeks away.

But it's still football.

"This is the fun part," coach Ken Whisenhunt said after Wednesday's workout, with just one scheduled OTA remaining Thursday before veterans scatter for the rest of the offseason (UPDATE: Thursday's OTA was ultimately canceled). "This is the part you look forward to. You are excited about all the components, whether it is looking at free agents, doing research, or looking at your own tape. But when you get a chance to go out here and work with the guys, work with your scheme and your system, that's a lot of fun."

"Especially," Whisenhunt added, "when it is cranked over 100 degrees."

The next time the Cardinals will be gathering to practice will be in the much cooler temperatures of Flagstaff. The rookies will stay in Tempe an extra month working with strength and conditioning coach John Lott, as will a few younger veterans.

But this week was the last for most of the roster. Until camp begins in late July, players will basically be on their own.

"You'll be doing your team a disservice if you just go home and sit and treat it only as a vacation the whole time," running back Tim Hightower said. "You need a break, but then you have to go back to work and prepare for the season."

Nothing was necessarily solidified during the Cards' minicamp and OTA work. Whisenhunt has talked about being happier with his secondary depth than when practices started. Whisenhunt also said he has been happy with the work new quarterback Matt Leinart has done in place of the retired Kurt Warner.

Most determinations for the depth chart and some roster spots won't come until training camp, however.

OTAs are instead a camp for camp – a way to better prepare the players to run the schemes the right way when the pads go on and the stakes go up.

"I have never been one to hate on these days of summer," guard Alan Faneca said. "They are a necessary evil. You come in refresh, get better and you work on what you screwed up last year. Then when you go to camp you are ready to roll."

Leinart called the work "a great building block."

Whisenhunt wasn't making any bold proclamations about his team, although he did acknowledge the team was in better shape than some may have predicted earlier in the offseason – when Karlos Dansby, Antrel Rolle and Anquan Boldin all became ex-Cardinals on the first day of free agency.

"We've gotten a lot more accomplished this offseason than I think any of us thought back on the first day of free agency or even when Kurt retired," Whisenhunt said. "Where we go as a team will be determined in training camp. But I am pleased with the effort, attention to detail and the consistent attendance our players have given us.

"I am excited to see where we go as a team."

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