NFL Wire News

Cardinals open camp with championship attitude


The Sports Xchange

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals talk a lot about respecting the process and taking each practice, and each day, one at a time.

But as training camp opened, they weren’t shy about saying where they hope that philosophy will take them.

“We have no doubt in our minds that we’re contenders,” defensive end Calais Campbell said. “It all starts with going out there and doing every little thing right and consistently from Day 1.

“It starts with showing up in shape, ready to go to work. Everybody’s in great shape, everybody’s ready to go to work. I’m excited to get back to work because I know how good we can be.”

The Cardinals believe this is the deepest, most talented team they have had in years, certainly the best in head coach Bruce Arians’ three seasons.

While acknowledging that a lot can happen over the next six months or so, Arians isn’t downplaying his optimism. Asked this weekend if thought he would have to manage expectations among his players, Arians replied there was only one expectation.

“Put a ring on our finger,” he said. “Nothing else is going to be successful or acceptable.”

The Cardinals appeared to be a contender last season, winning nine of their first 10. Then, they were hit by a multitude of injuries, including quarterback Carson Palmer’s torn left ACL.

Palmer dealt with a shoulder injury earlier in the season, and he spent the offseason rehabbing both.

The result is that his knee is at full strength, and his right arm might be stronger than it’s ever been, he said.

Palmer played well in the five games after the shoulder injury, but he had to compensate for diminished strength. And Arians altered his play-calling a bit.

“We lost some balls down the field that didn’t quite get there and a couple that were overthrown,” Arians said. “There’s some timing that was lost, and as a play-caller, you don’t risk it as often.”

The plan at camp is for Palmer to take the normal amount of reps as a starter. He won’t be held back because of the knee or the shoulder.

If Palmer stays healthy, the Cardinals should contend for the NFC West title. Arians pointed out that the Cardinals beat the Seattle Seahawks the last time Palmer played against them in 2013.

Arians was excited for the start of the 2015 season the day after the 2014 one ended.

“We were right at the precipice,” he said. “We had the (NFC) West championship in our building and we didn’t play well enough to win.”

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