NFL Team Report - Arizona Cardinals - INSIDE SLANT
Coach Bruce Arians was a happy man, ready to take some time off, as the Arizona Cardinals wrapped up their offseason practices June 13.
"I thought we got a lot done in all phases," he said. "Right now, it's important for us to progress forward from here to training camp, not go backwards and not stay where we're at. We can't come back and start over."
About the only fault Arians could find with his team was its conditioning. There are reasons for that, however. Temperatures in Arizona have been well above 100 degrees the last two weeks, and Arians usually split his team into two during 11-on-11 sessions.
That meant more repetitions for more players, and some didn't have the stamina necessary, Arians said.
"We're not in the best shape," Arians said. "We've got to get in better condition to play as fast as we want to play, especially offensively. Other than that, I've been extremely pleased. I like where our football team is right now."
The Cardinals installed all but a small percentage of their offensive and defensive systems. By the end of minicamp, they were working on specialty situations that Arians thought would have to wait until regular training camp to be covered.
The Cardinals work won't end now. The offensive line planned to work out together during this down time, and quarterback Carson Palmer has plans to train back home in Southern California and travel to Minnesota, where receiver Larry Fitzgerald holds a camp that draws many NFL players.
"I'm not going to get away from anything," Palmer said. "I won't be taking any time off, and I don't think guys will be, or should be, taking time off. That first game isn't that far away."
NFL Team Report - Arizona Cardinals - NOTES, QUOTES
--When they return in July, the Cardinals will hold training camp in the Phoenix area for the first time since moving to Arizona in 1998. They have trained in Flagstaff for 24 of the previous 25 years and were in Prescott one year.
But the team and Northern Arizona University could not reach agreement on a new contract, so the team is going to hold public training camp practices at University of Phoenix Stadium.
There are numerous challenges with that. There is one field inside the stadium, and the Cardinals will have to work around a professional soccer game scheduled there for Aug. 1.
The team hasn't secured accommodations near the stadium, so it doesn't yet have an office. Still, team president Michael Bidwill said Glendale will be a better site for camp than Flagstaff.
"Fans need to understand, we tried to make the best decision, competitively for the team," Bidwill said. "The facilities that NAU had moved us into over the last couple of years were completely sub-standard for a professional football team, and we were paying big rent up there.
"I hope the business community understands that it was a few people at NAU that really made this decision easy for us. I was not going to let the team be at a competitive disadvantage by continuing to use those facilities."
--Tackles Bobby Massie and Nate Potter, rookies a year ago, flipped sides in the team's three-day minicamp. Massie, the starting right tackle, moved to backup left tackle. Potter, the backup left tackle, started at right tackle. The move isn't permanent, Arians said. Maybe, but Potter took the vast majority of snaps at right tackle over three days.
"We'll rotate those guys," Arians said. "All those guys have to swing (positions)."
Arians coached in minicamp wearing sunglasses and with his nose slathered in sunscreen. He had a basal cell carcinoma removed from his nose shortly before camp.
"I was fortunate that it was very high in the skin, and she could scrape it off and not have to do surgery," he said. "Thankful."
--Defensive tackle Dan Williams played better at the end of minicamp after shedding some weight. Williams weighs in the 325-330 pound range and plans to report to camp at around 315.
He battled weight problems before, but he said those days are over.
"I know when camp comes up, I'll be ready," he said. "There's no 350, no '60. Those days are behind me."
--Under Arians, the Cardinals don't stretch as a team before and after practices. Players stretch and warm up on their own. Why? "I know this, if a guy starts chasing you with a gun, you're not going to stretch," Arians said.
--Quarterbacks coach Freddie Kitchens, who underwent surgery June 4 to fix a defect in his aorta, went home from the hospital six days later.
In a statement, Kitchens said, "There are so many people that I'll be indebted to for the rest of my life and 'thank you' just doesn't seem near enough. Looking back, I have no doubt - none whatsoever - that I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for those people. I've played or coached football my whole life so I can definitely appreciate teamwork and a smooth, efficient operation but the work those doctors, nurses and medical personnel do is just incredible. Again, I wouldn't be alive without them. I'm overwhelmed by the prayers and kindness everyone has sent my way; from the Cardinals, throughout the NFL, in Arizona, Alabama and everywhere else. I realize how truly fortunate I am and the blessing I have been given."
Kitchens hopes to be back with the team some time in training camp, although he is expected to be limited at first.
Kitchens is in his seventh season as a Cardinals assistant and coached the tight ends last season. He took over the quarterbacks following the hiring of Bruce Arians as head coach.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You cross your fingers every day. You pick up the paper (and see) this guy blew an ACL, this guy blew an Achilles and you just hope and pray that's not going to happen. We were very fortunate, especially for the amount of work we did." -- Coach Bruce Arians, on the health of his team.
NFL Team Report - Arizona Cardinals - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
--CB Michael Adams (not tendered as UFA).
--C Ryan Bartholomew (not tendered as ERFA).
--T D'Anthony Batiste (not tendered as UFA).
--DE Nick Eason (not tendered as UFA).
--DE Vonnie Holliday (not tendered as UFA).
--RB Javarris James (not tendered as ERFA).
--LB Paris Lenon (not tendered as UFA).
--T Pat McQuistan (not tendered as UFA).
--S James Sanders (not tendered as UFA).
--LB Brandon Williams (not tendered as RFA).
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED
--LB Kevin Minter (2/45): $4,390,298/4 yrs, $1,572,944 SB/$2,177,503 guaranteed.
--S Tyrann Mathieu (3/69): $3,052,500/4 yrs, $265,000 SB/$461,094 guaranteed; $627,500 combined RB/WO.
--LB Alex Okafor (4/103): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--G Earl Watford (4/116): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--RB Stepfan Taylor (5/140): $2,360,500/4 yrs, $200,500 SB.
--WR Ryan Swope (6/174): $2,275,788/4 yrs, $115,788 SB.
--RB Andre Ellington (6/187): $2,263,864/4 yrs, $103,864 SB.
--TE D.C. Jefferson (7/219): $2,220,248/4 yrs, $60,248 SB.
--S Rashad Johnson: Potential UFA; $4.8M/3 yrs, $1M SB.
--RB William Powell: ERFA; $480,000/1 yr.
--RB Alfonso Smith: ERFA; $555,000/1 yr.
--DE Ronald Talley: ERFA; $555,000/1 yr.
--LB Lorenzo Alexander: UFA Redskins; $9.5M/3 yrs, $3M guaranteed.
--S Jonathon Amaya: Not tendered as RFA by Dolphins; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--S Yeremiah Bell: UFA Jets; $905,000/1 yr, $65,000 SB.
--LB Jasper Brinkley: UFA Vikings; $3.5M/2 yrs, $400,000 SB.
--CB Antoine Cason: UFA Chargers; $1.5M/1 yr, $600,000 SB/$1M guaranteed.
--LB Karlos Dansby: FA Dolphins; terms unknown.
--WR Jarett Dillard: FA; terms unknown.
--T Paul Fanaika: FA; terms unknown.
--CB Bryan McCann: Not tendered as RFA by Dolphins; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--RB Rashard Mendenhall: UFA Steelers; $2.5M/1 yr.
--QB Carson Palmer (trade Raiders).
--CB Jerraud Powers: UFA Colts; $10.5M/3 yrs, $3M SB.
--G Chilo Rachal: UFA Bears; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--DE Frostee Rucker: FA Bengals; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--DE Matt Shaughnessy: UFA Raiders; 1M/1 yr.
--QB Drew Stanton: UFA Colts; $8.2M/3 yrs, $3M guaranteed.
--S Curtis Taylor: FA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--LB Stewart Bradley (released).
--WR Early Doucet (released).
--CB William Gay (released).
--LB Quentin Groves: UFA Browns; $2.4M/2 yrs.
--QB Brian Hoyer (released; had been re-signed AS RFA).
--QB Kevin Kolb (released).
--G Rich Ohrnberger: UFA Chargers; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--S Kerry Rhodes (released).
--QB Kevin Kolb (released).
--QB John Skelton (released).
--G Adam Snyder (released).
--RB LaRod Stephens-Howling: UFA Steelers; terms unknown.
--CB Greg Toler: UFA Cardinals; $14.25M/3 yrs, $5M guaranteed.
--RB Beanie Wells (released).
--S Adrian Wilson (released).