TEMPE, Ariz. -- As the first of three offseason organized team activities begins Tuesday, the Arizona Cardinals will get their first formal look at veterans and rookies in the same practice.
Arizona will utilize two practice fields, as has been tradition under coach Bruce Arians, in order to get rookies and young players needed reps while still letting the first team maximize its playing time. This week’s OTAs last from Tuesday through Thursday.
Here are the NFL’s rules for OTAs.
Players may be required to wear helmets
No shells allowed
All coaches are allowed on the field
No live contact is permitted
No one-on-one offense vs. defense drills allowed
Special-teams drills are permitted, if no live contact occurs
Team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted, if no live contact occurs
Here are three things to watch as Arizona begins OTAs:
Palmer’s reps: Arians has stayed on point throughout the offseason regarding quarterback Carson Palmer's involvement during offseason workouts.
"He’s way ahead of schedule but I don’t know how many reps he’ll get this spring," the coach said at the owners meetings in March.
Palmer took part in football workouts during Phase 2 but, by some reports, he wasn’t facing a defense -- live or not. In OTAs, there will be a defense lining up across from him. While there'll be a strict no-touch policy on Palmer if he practices, reining him in will be a constant concern for the coaching staff. If Arians allows Palmer to participate with the first team, how many snaps will he get is the primary question heading into this week. During the owners meetings, the last time Arians talked in depth about various scenarios facing the Cards this offseason, he said backups Drew Stanton and Logan Thomas will get "all the reps."
Defensive transition: It's been about a month since new defensive coordinator James Bettcher has been allowed to work with his charges. While the Cardinals will still run the scheme implemented by former coordinator Todd Bowles, the next few weeks will be critical for a few reasons.
Close attention will be paid to see how Bettcher handles his new role, taken on just three years after entering the NFL. What kind of wrinkles Bettcher will implement on his own to take some ownership of the scheme? And how will Bettcher be able to make the new pieces fit in for the lost pieces?
OL battles: The trio of A.Q. Shipley, Ted Larsen and Jonathan Cooper have been battling to start at center and right guard in the classroom for a month. They'll let coaches see who has the upper hand on the field on Tuesday. If the Cardinals had their wish, those two positions would be decided rather quickly so the jelling of the offensive line can begin. Right tackle will also be a position to watch, as Bobby Massie fights for his starting job against first-round pick D.J. Humphries.