FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals have wrapped up their training camp in Flagstaff, still looking for a starting quarterback with just two preseason games remaining.
The team worked out for a little more than two hours on Tuesday, then headed down I-17 to Phoenix. They leave Wednesday for Tennessee and a preseason game against the Titans on Thursday night.
“This part right here is the hard part,” safety Kerry Rhodes said of the team’s time in Flagstaff, where the elevation in 7,000 feet. “Now we’re getting back down there and just fine-tuning everything. That’s what we’re about right now.”
Coach Ken Whisenhunt pronounced the camp a success and the players said they looked forward to returning to their own beds, even if it means practicing in triple-digit heat.
“115 degrees and you get to sleep in your own bed at home, I’ll take that any day,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said.
John Skelton will start at quarterback at Tennessee as he and Kevin Kolb alternate preseason starts in the competition for the position. Skelton will get an extra number of plays because he got so few last week against Oakland, when Kolb started and because of the way the game went there weren’t as many offensive plays to go around.
“We’ll have a little bit more of an opportunity this week because we’ll start the second half most likely with our offensive line, just because you want to get in the routine of going into halftime and coming back out,” Whisenhunt said. “The first thing is we’ve got to get John enough snaps so we can balance it out, then we’ll proceed from there.”
The coach said it’s not a given that he will reach his decision before the final preseason game a week from Thursday at home against Denver.
“I don’t think there is any pressure or any reason to say that you would have to make that decision before that game,” Whisenhunt said.
In the 2008 season, Whisenhunt waited until a week before the regular-season opener before announcing that Kurt Warner, not Matt Leinart, would be the starter. The Cardinals went on to make a surprise run to the Super Bowl.
“As superstitious as everybody thinks I am, I’m not doing that because that’s what we did before,” Whisenhunt said. “I just want to make sure that we have enough situational evaluations of these players to make that decision.”
Whisenhunt said it’s important for a team to get away from its home base for training camp, especially in the college atmosphere the Cardinals have at Northern Arizona University.
“Any time you go away it gives you a chance as a team to grow,” he said. “You can have training camp at your place and still have meetings at night and still have curfew. But what happens is the players go back to their room and they don’t necessarily hang around each other.
“When you’re here and you’re in this type of environment, you’re essentially living together. That’s where the chemistry grows. I think we already had good chemistry from the work we did in the spring but this is where it really develops because they’re around each other from 6:30 in the morning until 10 o’clock at night.”