Rookie-only minicamp, OTAs and the two-a-day-practice minicamp are all officially over for the Arizona Cardinals.
While most of the focus for the Cardinals this off-season has been on the quarterback battle between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton, third-year linebacker Daryl Washington knows just how crucial it was for the defense to get its first full off-season completed under second-year Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton.
"His scheme works, we all trust it and we're ready to go," Washington said regarding Horton.
Horton was hired in February of 2011, but because of the lockout was not given much time to implement his defensive scheme going into last season.
"I'm a lot more confident with the defense. I think a lot of guys are more confident with the defense," Washington told media after the final practice of the offseason. "Now we can just play rather than think so much."
The team will now go their separate ways until late July when they regroup in Flagstaff for the start of training camp.
"It's still a progression, obviously. I think OTAs and minicamp gave us a little help in getting to that point of training camp," Washington said. "I think when training camp comes we'll be a lot more confident."
Washington plans to visit with family during the break and let his body rest before training camp and another taxing season.
After a strong finish to last season the defensive unit hopes to build on that momentum going into training camp, but Washington knows it won't come without struggles.
"It's going to be a challenging year for us with the outside linebackers and a lot of new guys but I think they'll pick it up as we go along with training camp," said Washington. "Having this time off will definitely help rest the body, so we'll be fine."