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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Jun 6, 2013 - 4:48 pm

OTA Mania

Head coach Bruce Arians watches during Arizona Cardinals OTAs on Thursday, June 6, 2013. (Adam Green/Arizona Sports)

Many people have discussed the noticeable difference and the amount of coaching that appears to be going on at the Arizona Cardinals OTAs. While relatively quiet and somewhat boring during the Ken Whisenhunt years, the Cards practices have been loud and energetic.

I don't believe there is a right or wrong way to conduct OTA practices and I don't think people should try to compare coaching staffs; I believe it's a matter of control, style, philosophy and reality.

The reality of the situation for Big Red is that a new scheme, a new system is being implemented offensively, defensively and in transition (special teams). This presents the new coaching staff with many more coaching moments. Players, veterans and rookies alike, are learning not only how to execute the new scheme but also how to communicate on the field and speak the language of the play. Terminology is different from scheme to scheme and if you're unsure what a coach is trying to say to you when competing it will be difficult to execute said scheme. Mistakes will be made which present opportunities for coaches to correct.

Which brings me to philosophy of practice: many coaches like to get as many reps in as they possibly can and then make corrections in the film room. Other coaching staffs prefer to correct on the field. BA and his staff are so inclined. These corrections are many times intense and verbally aggressive as coaches try to communicate how important it is that a player gets it right. This is another reason why many have noticed the verbal intensity of Bruce Arians and his staff.

My brother Craig has been the Pittsburgh Steelers color-analyst for years and knows BA and many on his staff. He told me that BA is the type of coach that will get in a players face, verbally undress him and vituperate him and then be the first guy to hug him and encourage him when he gets it right. This is BA's style and I imagine he has hired coaches that mirror his approach to coaching.

Finally, BA and his staff are new. Many of the players competing in OTA workouts are new to the team or the NFL. The NFL is dominated by hyper-aggressive-alpha-males, playing the most violent sport on the planet. It's important for new coaching staffs to come in and lay down the law. It's important that players understand who is in control, who is in charge, and where the pecking order begins. Meekness is weakness and rarely respected in the locker room. Most coaching staffs in their first year of exposure to the players emphasize their dominance and authority from the beginning.

Bruce Arians is an excellent coach and he's put together a very good staff. Big Red is in transition and the roster has been upgraded from top to bottom thanks to the great work of GM Steve Keim. But people are getting too excited about the juxtaposition of coaching styles between Ken Whisenhunt and Bruce Arians and assuming one is better than the other.

Although I happen to prefer Bruce Arians' approach and am used to his style, there are multiple reasons why people have noticed a difference in coaching at Cardinals OTAs. Let's hope the control, style, philosophy and reality of Bruce Arians and his staff translates into wins for the Cards.

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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