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Camp Blood

In a football practice, “Team” period means you’re playing football. The offense plays with 11 and the defense plays with 11. Running plays are mixed in with passing plays, down and distance is used and it typically signifies the end of practice. Team is football.

Having said this, I have never seen so much Team being run in a training camp as I’m seeing in Glendale. Bruce Arians is running more 11-on-11 than any coach I have been around or coached by, and they are extended periods. They must have run 50 plays of team on Tuesday!

And not only are they running more extended team periods, but they are competitive, aggressive and close to full speed. Piles are forming all over the field, bodies are hitting the ground and coaches are not saying a word about it. This is not normal coaching etiquette in the NFL.

B.A. continues to set the tone for this training camp. Running more team without screaming and yelling when piles form or players hit the ground has created a new standard of expectation for this team. And the message is clear: be physical. You can’t be physical unless you practice physically, and the Cardinals had better become more physical if they wish to compete in the über-physical NFC West.

This dynamic was put to the test on Tuesday. The players were in “Shells” (helmets, shoulder pads and shorts) and practiced like they were in full gear. Some players tackled, guys got knocked down, the intensity level was bellicose and piles formed. And all was well with B.A. and his staff! This will most certainly change as the season unfolds, but I was completely dumbfounded…and extremely jacked.

I hope it creates a street fighter mentality inside the box on both sides of the ball for Big Red. For herein lies the fortunes of this team in 2013.

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