Cardinals 'light years' ahead of past seasons on first day of OTAs

Coach Bruce Arians is pleased with the tempo as the Cardinals began organized team activities on Tuesday. AP Photo/Matt York

TEMPE, Ariz. -- For as much as Tuesday's opening day at Arizona Cardinals' organized team activities was an introduction to this year's offensive scheme, it was also a display of an overall advanced understanding by the returning offensive players.

"It's light years from the last couple of years," coach Bruce Arians said. "Guys just jumped out there and I think we had one false start there at the end. I would imagine the assignment sheet's very small and rightfully so.

"We looked at a couple little things today and will continue to tweak things and look at them each day but the guys know why they're doing it. Instead of saying, 'OK, watch this team do it and you guys try to do it,' (we're saying) this is yourself doing it. This is how we're going to tweak it and make it better."

The former was the case three years ago during Arians' first OTAs, when he had to use film from the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers -- his last two coaching stops -- to introduce his offense to Arizona.

Those days are over.

On Tuesday, the Cardinals finished practice 20 minutes early because of the tempo. Arizona's practices continue to be broken into two fields -- one for the first two teams and the other for the third team and rookies. Each field went through 42 plays, meaning the Cardinals' rookies received more reps than they would've on most other teams, Arians said.

"Most teams, probably their rookies got five or six (reps) today. Ours got 42," Arians said. "That's one of the ways we try to bring young players along. I was very pleased with the speed in which they jump out there and played today, especially the ones that were on Field 1."

Arians was pleased with the condition of his rookies, saying this year's crop reported in "much better" shape than in past years. It was a result, Arians said, of warnings given from the coaching staff after they signed.

Despite the instant cohesiveness displayed during practice, there was still a back-to-square-one feel about Tuesday.

"It's business as usual," Palmer said. "It's pretty much the same scripts, you hear the same simple plays over and over and over again before you get to that first game of the season and I think that's the way he likes it and that's the way we started off."