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Fewer practice throws for Palmer

Posted by Darren Urban on November 27, 2015 – 9:29 am

It’s that time of year. You can tell from the injury report — it’s the longest it’s been all season this week, and that addition of safety Deone Bucannon on Thanksgiving with a concussion makes you pause — and Bruce Arians said earlier this week the Cardinals were going without pads heading into the 49ers game. It only makes sense, as banged up as they are.

There are other places where they are going to be careful. That includes the passes thrown by Carson Palmer in practice. You don’t want to have the quarterback’s arm fade when you conceivably could still have as many as nine or 10 games left to play. Palmer only played six games last season, so he’s already thrown well beyond what he did last year (224 attempts in 2014, 339 attempts this season), although he is in great shape — and that includes his arm.

Nevertheless, Palmer acknowledged there will be fewer throws during the week.

“That’s something completely not in my wheelhouse,” Palmer said. “(Strength and conditioning coach) Buddy Morris is as smart of a guy in that department. He’s been studying it a long time. He understands mechanics. He understands the velocity of throws. He uses all these big words that I’m not even going to get into. He’s a researcher and he’s done a ton of research. Your age, your number of years, how many throws you have typically thrown this time of year or that time of year; whatever it is. There’s an equation he’s drawn out and there’s a certain number of throws we’ll hit, but I don’t get into that. I just do whatever he tells me.”

The Cardinals have been careful at practice in multiple areas. Morris had already put in place a harness system that measures the steps of each skill guy, as to make sure they aren’t running too much in practice. This is just another example of what Bruce Arians likes to call “sports science,” and Palmer isn’t going to argue.

“I’m trusting a professional,” Palmer said. “Buddy is as good as they get. He’s as good as they come in this league. I’ve been around a bunch of great strength coaches, but Buddy is hands down the best. He’s very focused. He’s very concerned with it. It takes up a lot of his day because he’s always talking about it, but I love having a guy like that on our side.”

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Moving into the new weight room

Posted by Darren Urban on April 13, 2015 – 2:22 pm

The players will be returning a week from today to begin the strength and conditioning program. While it is voluntary, I’m sure it will be well attended as guys stream back for the offseason. The workouts start Monday, with Phase 2 — which allows players to get back on the field with a ball — May 4 and then Phase 3 — which is OTAs and minicamp — beginning May 19.

And it looks like the work will take place in the team’s new weight room, too.

As the construction upgrades on the team’s Tempe facility begin to wind toward completion, workers began moving the weight equipment from the practice bubble — where it has been since right after the Super Bowl — into the team’s new and much more spacious weight room. Strength and conditioning coaches Buddy Morris, Roger Kingdom and Anthony Piroli were down there today (pictured below) discussing the new layout while that part of the rehab is finishing up. It all should be in place when work starts Monday. The new locker rooms remain  work-in-progress, so players will continue to use their temporary lockers in the bubble for now.

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Offseason program officially begins

Posted by Darren Urban on April 20, 2014 – 5:44 pm

The new collective bargaining agreement from 2011 changed and redirected several elements of NFL teams’ offseason programs, one of which being fewer days for the team to officially work together. The Cardinals have had a handful of players use the team facility to work out the last few weeks, but they couldn’t interact with coaches and they couldn’t get the official workout program of new strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris.

That changes Monday, when the Cardinals are allowed to begin their workout program (along with the rest of the league, save for the teams with new head coaches who could begin April 7.) It bears repeating — and emphasizing, the NFL Players Association would certainly say — that this is only voluntary work. In fact, the only mandatory work of the entire offseason is the minicamp June 10-12, which includes Fan Fest at University of Phoenix Stadium June 10. The rest can be skipped if a player so chooses — although after covering this for 15 years, it’s not a surprise to see most players take part in most if not all of the voluntary work, especially when organized team activities start.

Certainly, a glance at Twitter Sunday saw more than a few Cardinals making note of their trek back to Arizona, undoubtedly for the introduction to Buddy classes that will take place Monday:

Not everyone will be there Monday, nor should they be expected to be. But there were quite a few guys trickling in last week already, and I’d think there will be a big group Monday. We’ll have more on azcardinals.com tomorrow.

— While the players are getting started, the front office and coaches continue to head toward the draft. The bulk of the draft meetings were completed last week as everyone discussed, broke down and haggled about the dozens of pro prospects. Speaking of that, don’t forget the Cardinals Spring Tailgate event is coming Thursday. Click here for more details, but part of the celebration (which helps kick off the Big Red Rib and Music Festival out on the Great Lawn) is a one-hour televised special featuring GM Steve Keim, VP Michael Bidwill and coach Bruce Arians, as well as Tyrann Mathieu and Jared Veldheer. Tweet a question for anyone on the panel — using the hashtag #CardsTailgate — and if the question is used, you will win an autographed mini-helmet.


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Super Bowl centerpiece and other stuff

Posted by Darren Urban on March 18, 2014 – 4:54 pm

This year’s Super Bowl is going to be at University of Phoenix Stadium, in case you hadn’t heard. And in the days leading up to the game, there will be a multitude of NFL busy-ness going on in downtown Phoenix, including the NFL Experience — essentially the league’s football theme park. For those interested, there is a map below of how it will unfold early in 2015. Click on the picture for a full-size version.

— A good story by Kyle Odegard about new strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris and his philosophy resides on the homepage. One thing that struck me was this Morris quote: “From my perspective, we can do all this stuff to improve their physical performance – bigger, stronger, faster, blah, blah, blah – but the bottom line is, can we keep them from injuries so they can play every weekend? That’s where my payoff is.” That’s obviously important for every strength coach, but rarely do you hear it communicated as so much more important than the other stuff.

— The addition of Roger Kingdom as a speed coach is also intriguing. I, like some have said to me, am curious on how it will impact guys like Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd — neither of whom are slow by any means, but are not known for their speed.

— Other than the Mike Jenkins visit, it’s quiet on the Cardinals’ free agency front. Players are hoping they will still drum up the contracts they want, teams like the Cards figure it’s moving to a buyer’s market. We will see if anything comes about by the end of the week, before GM Steve Keim heads to the owners meetings next week.

— Cornerback/kickoff return man Javier Arenas, who didn’t figure to come back, agreed to a one-year deal with the Falcons. The Panthers reportedly have interest in the Cards’ other veteran free-agent cornerback, Antoine Cason.

— Big congrats to media relations coordinator/king of great notes Mike Helm, who, along with wife Marika became a parent this morning to new son Landon David Helm.

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Olympian Roger Kingdom new speed coach

Posted by Darren Urban on March 6, 2014 – 11:29 am

The Cardinals hired Buddy Morris as their new strength and conditioning coach Tuesday. Today, one of the men Morris used to train became his new coaching associate — and it is an interesting hire to say the least. Olympian hurdler Roger Kingdom, who won gold medals in the hurdles in both the 1984 Los Angeles and the 1988 Seoul Games, will be the Cardinals’ new speed coach. With assistant strength and conditioning coach Pete Alosi remaining in place, the Cards have grown their coaching staff yet again in a quest to have the Cards be a one-stop shop for however the players need to prepare.

Kingdom originally attended the University of Pittsburgh on a football scholarship, so he knows the sport. That’s how he knew Morris, who was the school’s strength coach from 1980-89 in his first of three stints there. Kingdom won the gold in the 110-meter hurdles. He retired from the sport in 1999 (he briefly tried a comeback a few years later) and spent time as the track coach at California University of Pennsylvania. During his track career, Kingdom was a five-time United States outdoor champion (1985, 1988-90 and 1995) and two-time gold medalist at the Pan American Games (1983, 1995). He also holds a World Cup gold medal (1989) and won gold at the World University Games in 1989.

Now he will try to bring his speed training to the Cardinals. That’s something Bruce Arians has harped on since he arrived. Meanwhile, Morris in past interviews has talked about how he doesn’t believe Olympic-style lifting helps guys play football. This will be a very interesting transition to a new strength and conditioning program, and will make for an intriguing offseason.


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Buddy Morris added as strength coach

Posted by Darren Urban on March 4, 2014 – 11:51 am

The Cardinals have hired Buddy Morris, who had just been hired at the University of Buffalo and who once worked with Bruce Arians when Arians was in Cleveland, to morris-20140116-0005-2be their new strength and conditioning coach. He replaces John Lott, who was fired last week. Morris’ time in Cleveland was from 2002-05, and he also spent three stints as the strength and conditioning coach of the University of Pittsburgh. (Interestingly, the man who replaced Morris for the Browns? John Lott.)

Morris has a lengthy and impressive résumé — this blog post gives some good detail into his thinking. For the moment, Pete Alosi remains the assistant strength and conditioning coach. The Cardinals officially begin their offseason conditioning program April 21, but some have already trickled in here and there. CBA rules prohibit any coaching right now, but once Morris arrives, he can at least introduce himself.

“I’m a fanatic on technique,” Morris recently told the Buffalo News. “I’m a fanatic on the little things. The game’s still a game of discipline and it starts in the weight room.”

— The Cardinals also signed center John Estes Tuesday. Estes had spent time with the Jacksonville Jaguars (where new Cardinals vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough was previously in the front office) before spending last season out of football.


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