It was a quiet end to minicamp today. I have my overall thoughts of the offseason posted Friday morning, but first a little cleanup following Bruce Arians’ last press conference until training camp in late July:
– Arians broke out one of his favorite themes for young players. “You give them exposure or they get exposed,” he said, and some were exposed this week. Still, there is time to make up for that.
– Jonathan Cooper is going to be the starting left guard and he should be a good one. But Arians stressed Cooper is not all the way back yet. The hope is that he will be for the opening of camp. It’s not that Cooper hasn’t been able to do everything this offseason after his broken leg. He has. Just not as well as he was when he got hurt last year.
“It’s obvious he’s not the athlete he was last year at this time and I wouldn’t expect him to be,” Arians said. “He has plenty of time to get there. He’s a first-round choice but far from a finished product.”
– Arians wants his players in better shape. “We’re not in condition to play for a championship right now,” he said, but since the first game that counts isn’t until Sept. 8, that too can come. The question is who can handle these next five weeks or so on their own to come back to camp ready to go.
– Often Arians talks about being able to play with the “noise,” and he’s not talking about the decibel level of 60,000 fans. “There is no noise out here right now, no helmets hitting, no shoulder pads cracking. Thats the noise I’m talking about.” That’s what separates the players from the pretenders, and that’s why the offseason can only determine so much about a team and it’s roster.
– Arians said he hopes rookie tight end Troy Niklas, with his broken hand, will be ready on the first day of training camp. If not, Niklas hopefully will be back when the pads go on, although that’s just a few days after camp opens. Interestingly, Arians said the Cards probably have too many legitimate tight ends to keep all. You figure, with the times Arians uses two and even three tight ends that the Cards will keep four — with the odds on Niklas, John Carlson, Jake Ballard and Rob Housler.
– Arians praised former Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer for being able to catch the ball better than Arians remembered him doing in Pittsburgh. Dwyer can pass block, which is a big deal for BA in his offense. Such ability is a must, or at least, Arians said, “just get your ass kicked with dignity, you’ll be all right.”
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