With temperatures approaching triple digits, Arizona Cardinals players worked out in helmets and shorts for nearly two hours Tuesday morning.
"It's good to get out here on the field," quarterback Carson Palmer said. "It just kind of gives you a taste that football is back. Getting these type of practices in, it just kind of feels like football is here. It's definitely welcomed by the guys in our locker room. We're excited to be back at it."
It's referred to as Phase Three: a four-week program in which NFL teams are allowed to conduct 10 days of organized team practice activity, or "OTAs". No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.
"These opportunities are priceless," Palmer said.
Participation, it should be noted, is voluntary. Teams can't require players to attend, but most, if they hope to be on the field in the fall, do.
"I was very pleased with the way practice went, excellent effort," head coach Bruce Arians said. "Obviously, we had full participation which is a great sign by the commitment of the guys."
That commitment allowed Arians to do something he had never participated in before, splitting the 90-man roster to hold dual practices. The first and second units practiced on the main field while the rookies and some other players worked on another field.
"We wanted to make sure that we maximized the opportunities our rookies got to get repetitions," the first-year head coach said. "You can't find a diamond in the rough if he's standing on the sideline watching. You can find one if he's out there working. That's our goal is to give every single guy that's here an opportunity to make this ball club."
Practice was crisp with players moving swiftly from one drill to the next.
Daryn Colledge, a left guard his entire career, continues to work at right guard while first round draft pick Jonathan Cooper split time with veteran Chilo Rachal at left guard. Meanwhile, receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts shifted more at the line of scrimmage than they had in the past.
"A few interceptions today were the cause of that and that's to be expected," Arians said. "Really happy to see our defense get some turnovers. As the play caller, I don't like seeing interceptions, but as the head coach I'm digging the defense. I get to root for them."
Newcomers Jasper Brinkley and Karlos Dansby practiced together at inside linebacker. The second team saw Kevin Minter and Daryl Washington at those spots. Jerraud Powers lined up opposite Patrick Peterson at corner. Yeremiah Bell and Rashad Johnson were the two starting safeties.
Three players did not practice: tight end Jeff King, wide receiver Michael Rios and inside linebacker Kenny Demens. They worked out on the side.
"If it got any better, I'd have to be twins," Arians said of day one. "It's great. It's something I've waited for for a long time."