Cardinals wrap minicamp early after another “outstanding” practice

TEMPE, Ariz. — Things went so well for the Arizona Cardinals on Day Two of their minicamp, that head coach Bruce Arians decided to wrap it early.

“Really spirited practice, got a ton of reps in again, and there was good competition on both sides. It really did exceed my expectations,” Arians said. “We’ll have a walkthrough this afternoon; we will not practice tomorrow.”

“We’ve accomplished everything that we’ve set out to accomplish this spring to have us ready for (training) camp,” Arians said. “They’ve showed up, they worked, we had great attendance and great effort this entire spring.”

The players will have about six weeks off before they have to report to training camp at University of Phoenix Stadium. That’s a lot of idle time for them. Arians doesn’t want any funny business going down with any of his 90 guys during their time off.

“It’s a longer break than normal,” Arians said. “I know they’ll show up in great shape; the big thing is don’t be a distraction during that time, don’t cost the team anything, don’t be the guy.”

takeoff minicamp

The team usually doesn’t do anything major on the last day of minicamp anyway. Arians says they normally gather for about “30 minutes and we kick a field goal,” and that’s about it. Arians didn’t want to leave anything to chance since things went so well in all three phases of OTAs and the first two days of minicamp.

Two things that really stood out to Arians over the last two days were the team’s speed and its overall strength. He feels like they’ve greatly improved in both departments.

“(Cardinals’ strength and conditioning coach) Buddy’s (Morris) numbers were outstanding. We’ve really, really improved in all areas as athletic…what the hell’s it called now? Sports science?” Arians said. “I know we’re bigger, and stronger and faster.”

Arians saw some differences in the way defensive coordinator James Bettcher schemed for quarterback Carson Palmer on Wednesday, especially down in the red zone in 7-on-7’s. The intensity level was through the roof whenever the field got shorter.

“(The) defense adjusted to some things yesterday. It’s a back-and-forth thing when you’re practicing against yourselves all the time,” Arians said. “He (Palmer) got confused once or twice today, but I thought he was spot-on. That two-minute drive was a really good one.”

Arians wanted to test Bettcher a little bit at minicamp, to see if he and his defense could rise to the occasion, which they did. The defense looked very strong, despite Palmer throwing four touchdowns inside the red zone. Cornerback Patrick Peterson looked especially strong. The game day lights were on for him the entire time it seemed by his play.

patrick peterson minicamp2

“Everything’s competitive. We make adjustments to see what kind of adjustments they make,” Arians said. “There were some good ones in the red zone today, because we kind of lit them up yesterday.”

Arians has seen an entirely new Patrick Peterson this offseason. With Peterson getting his diabetes under control, it’s allowed him to come out with a renewed vigor, and love for the game of football, and it’s definitely translating to the field.

“His (Peterson) weight is down, (and) it’s under control now, and he’s back to his natural athletic ability,” Arians said. “I think it bothered him mentally, not knowing what was going on last year. He’s got a smile on his face, and he looks like he’s supposed to look.”

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