If you're headed to Cardinals training camp at the University of Phoenix Stadium Friday, you might need to bring along a smart phone with a solid internet connection. Of the 87 players on the roster tonight, about 52 are brand new to the Big Red.
Tyrann Mathieu, Drew Stanton, Carson Palmer, Antoine Cason, Rashard Mendenhall, and the list goes on and on. And I haven't even mentioned the coaching staff!
I talked with WR Larry Fitzgerald Thursday morning as he was getting ready for his tenth training camp with the Cardinals and he told me, "Everything is new. From the General Manager, to the head coach, the coaching staff, the training camp location and many of my new teammates." Larry wasn't worried about all the change, just making note of it all. In fact, he said he'll do his best to embrace it.
So with so many new faces running around, what can we expect from the 2013 version of the Arizona Cardinals?
We know the team has a tough schedule ahead of them, and with the 49ers and Seahawks in the division, nothing's going to be easy this fall. Add that to the fact that virtually every scheme on offense, defense and special teams will be new to the guys, and this should be a very interesting training camp.
In terms of scheme on offense, there are two big questions before we start talking about Bruce Arians' desire to throw the ball down field.
First, more changes in the offensive line. Last years "O" line was questionable at best, so hopefully some of the new faces help out. In addition to first round draft pick, Jonathan Cooper (who hasn't signed with the team yet), the Cardinals agreed to terms today with veteran offensive tackle, Eric Winston. Winston has played for both the Texans and Chiefs and should bring some competition to the right tackle spot. But again, lots of questions surrounding the offensive line.
Second, the running backs. Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams are both trying to come back off injuries and without either one (should they not be ready) the Cards will be relying heavily on a couple of rookies, Stepfan Taylor out of Stanford and Andre Ellington out of Clemson.
The other big question on offense is how will Carson Palmer fit into Arizona and Arians' passing scheme?
With so many changes, come a lot of questions.
On defense, the Cardinals has sent a number of starters packing so we can expect as many as six new starters on that side of the ball. Combine that with a new scheme and new coordinator and, you guessed it, lots more questions.
In the kicking game, the Cardinals return Jay Feely and Dave Zastudil, although both will probably face some competition in training camp.
Again, with all the changes in the front office, on the coaching staff, on the roster and with training camp location, this may be one of the more entertaining camps in recent years. At least since the Denny Green era.
Arians did say he loves the heat, saying, "when I go outside everything loosens up." Let's hope the team can loosen up and grasp Arians' plan!
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