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Arizona Cardinals

BA and brutality

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, left, talks with Rob Housler at NFL football training camp practice on Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Big Red's training camp might be the most physical camp since the turn of the century. Whether the Cardinals are in shells (helmets, shoulder pads and shorts) or full gear, they are practicing at a high tempo and the intensity level is bellicose.

These practices remind me of old school football. Bill Parcells and Jimmy Johnson are guys that allowed piles to form on the field; live tackling would occur from time to time and rarely would coaches object. Practice was physical.

Bruce Arians (BA) has taken a page from the Old School manual. BA continues to set the tone for the carnage. And I saw something on Monday I haven't seen in over a decade: 1-on-1 Perimeter Blitz Pickup.

Running backs and tight ends are lined up in the backfield and OLB, slot corners and safeties fire (rush the Q) from the perimeter. It's the RB's job to keep the blitzer from getting to the Q. The problem is there is no line, no point of reference, no help for the back; by design, it's a very unfair drill to the back. The theory is if the back can do it there, he can do it anywhere.

Theory aside, it's brutal and not for the faint of heart. If you want to know what Perimeter Blitz Pickup feels like, go into your garage, take the lid off your steel trash can and put it over your head. Have your neighbor point you toward your block wall; then, with a mouth guard in, run as fast as you can into that block wall! Your neighbors will think you're crazy, which might be useful, but you'll know what it feels like to pickup a SS Fire as a RB.

This drill, and many like them, establishes a certain expectation and attitude about the kind of football that is going to be played in Arizona. And the best thing is it has nothing to do with saying and everything to do with doing. BA doesn't need to talk about being a physical team because everybody feels what it means to be a physical team. The drills and practices speak volumes to the players.

About the Author


School: West Virginia University

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: January 2, 2007

Favorite sports memory: Walking between the white lines.

Favorite all-time athlete: Walter Payton

Favorite sports movies: Major League

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