ARIZONA CARDINALS

Day 1 of Steve Wilks era a noticeable change for Arizona Cardinals

Apr 17, 2018, 3:36 PM | Updated: 7:06 pm
New Arizona Cardinals NFL football head coach Steve Wilks speaks, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, after bei...
New Arizona Cardinals NFL football head coach Steve Wilks speaks, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, after being introduced at the teams' training facility in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

TEMPE, Ariz. — To call the first Cardinals practice of the Steve Wilks era a contrast to five years of practices under Bruce Arians was not a stretch.

There was music playing, although Wilks did not dance to it like Arizona State coach Herm Edwards. There was limited media availability, with only Wilks, Larry Fitzgerald and A.Q. Shipley addressing reporters inside the media room. And yes, there was team stretching before the first practice of voluntary minicamp at the team’s practice facility on Tuesday.

Arians eschewed stretching on team time, arguing that his players should be loose before they arrived on the practice field.

“I know this,” Arians said, “if a guy starts chasing you with a gun, you’re not going to stretch.”

Wilks is setting a different tone from his pre-practice approach right down to his play calling.

“We’re not going to win a division off one practice but we want to take a step in that direction,” he said. “Just to go through Phase 1, get the guys in the building is one thing. To start implementing the teaching and the system is another, but to be able to get out on the field and get hands-on is very important.

“It’s all about how much they retain. We’ve thrown a lot at them and now it’s time to get out on the field and execute that.”

While Shipley said the main difference between Arians’ scheme and Wilks’ was verbiage, Fitzgerald had a different take.

“It’s all relatively new in terms of system so I was really just trying to hone in on assignments, the splits, the details, the depths, the nuances of what we’re being coached,” said Fitzgerald, who said he studied hard over the weekend. “[Offensive coordinator Mike] McCoy threw everything at us over the last two weeks. Every single day we were installing 30, 40 new plays every single day. You do that for two straight weeks and it’s just like mush in there.

“I feel like I’m in college again.”

Wilks isn’t the first coach to emphasize details, but he harped on it several times in his 10-minute talk with the media.

“The little things are going to matter,” he said. “That’s what’s really going to separate us from everybody else: attention to details, exceptional preparation, consistency in which we operate and our ability to finish.

“They’re getting it. You can see it and I like the communication that is going on.”

Fitzgerald said the first day under a new coach creates a bit of unease with players because they don’t know where they stand with the new staff. Even Fitzgerald was feeling it.

“Stature doesn’t really get you anything,” he said. “It’s a prove-it business. Nobody cares what you did last year or the year before. That’s history. That’s in the past. You’re always trying to accomplish something new every day.

“When you have a new coach, coaching staff, I think they have a preconceived notion of what you are or what you can do from the outside looking in. It’s your job, once you get out there, to prove what you can do.”

Arizona Cardinals

Head coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins looks on from the sideline during the second quarter ...
Arizona Sports

Report: Cardinals head coach candidate Brian Flores takes Vikings’ DC job

Arizona Cardinals head coaching candidate Brian Flores has reportedly accepted the Minnesota Vikings' vacant defensive coordinator position.
20 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals WR A.J. Green (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals wide receiver A.J. Green announces retirement on Instagram

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver A.J. Green has announced on his Instagram account that he has retired from the game of football.
20 hours ago
Budda Baker #3 of the Arizona Cardinals gestures during warmups prior to the game against the Los A...
Tom Kuebel

Budda Baker: Cardinals were unprepared for 2022 due to poor training camp participation

Cardinals pro bowl safety Budda Baker told NFL.com that he could tell his team was ill-prepared after a Week 1 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
20 hours ago
Acting head coach defensive coordinator Vance Joseph of the Arizona Cardinals looks on during the t...
Wills Rice

Report: Cardinals narrow head coach search to 3 candidates after eliminating 3 more

The Arizona Cardinals have reportedly narrowed their head coaching search down to three names after eliminating three more on Sunday.
2 days ago
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 12: Bottles litter the 16th hole after a hole-in-one by Sam Ryder of...
Dan Bickley

City of Phoenix better at hosting championships than winning them

This week might also be the busiest, buzziest and most profitable week ever in our history as big-event hosts.
20 hours ago
AFC wide receiver Davante Adams (17) of the Las Vegas Raiders runs with the ball as NFC strong safe...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals’ Budda Baker snags INT in NFC’s Pro Bowl win over AFC

The Cardinals had one participant in the Pro Bowl Games on Sunday, and safety Budda Baker made sure to put on a show.
2 days ago
Day 1 of Steve Wilks era a noticeable change for Arizona Cardinals