Until practices and the games play out, the differences between new coach Bruce Arians and former coach Ken Whisenhunt may be hard to decipher. But there is one major difference that is obvious given topics Arians has talked about — where Whisenhunt was often careful of how quickly he would play a rookie, and clearly skewed toward veteran play, Arians is the opposite. I expect the new staff to play young players early and often.
When Arians first took the job, he mentioned how many rookies and/or inexperienced players he and the Colts played last year in Indianapolis. Much of that was forced, because of injury and salary cap purges, but in the end, it worked out to an 11-win season. Arians praises the job those young players did for him. And in the shadow of the story that players can’t talk to the coaches about football until April comes the reality that, under the new rules, rookies benefit with the learning curve. Even Arians notes this.
“We found out we could play with young players,” Arians said of his time in Indianapolis. “In the past a rookie might get seven or eight reps in an OTA. Last year they got like 200 because they can go out seven days a week. The veterans can’t work but the rookies can. They got reps even going to (training) camp, when we brought them in three days early.”
Obviously, the Cardinals aren’t going to have the rookies working seven days a week. But the Colts had a pair of rookies-only minicamps last year and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that repeated here. Plus I could see Arians again wanting to bring them in early to training camp. That’s a lot of extra time with the coaches the veterans won’t get — especially if the coaches are looking to find rookies that can play right away.
You also have to wonder about the underbelly of the roster, the guys that Whisenhunt always liked to populate with veterans. Arians and general manager Steve Keim may be looking in a different direction.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Colts, rookies, Steve Keim
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