Cardinals spending week in West Virginia to ease travel concerns
TEMPE, Ariz. — When the Arizona Cardinals leave for Detroit on Saturday, they won’t be home for quite a while.
They will be in the hills of West Virginia between Sunday’s game against the Lions and coach Bruce Arians’ return to Pittsburgh, where he was offensive coordinator for so long, the following week.
Asked why the Cardinals are staying there rather than returning home, Arians said, "The biggest thing is swelling."
"Guys that bruised and hurt in the game, to fly back creates a lot of swelling," he said, "then to fly back again, it’s really hard on their bodies. It’s much easier to stay in that time zone. Rest and recovery is so much better for the next game."
They will stay at the posh Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and practice there at the facilities used by the New Orleans Saints for training camp.
"When you have a facility that can handle what you want to get done," Arians said. "that’s the main thing. It’s not a distraction. As long as we’re feeling there’s no distraction to our work week, then it’s really healthy for our guys."
The Detroit game doesn’t start until 4:05 p.m. EDT, so the Cardinals won’t be arriving at the training site until very late.
Running back Chris Johnson said it’s the first time in his career that he’s stayed on the road between games. He backed up Arians’ philosophy though. Several years ago, he said, he injured his knee in a game and when the team traveled cross country the following week, there was additional swelling in the knee.
Defensive tackle Frostee Rucker said it’s good for sore bodies to stay in the same time zone and rest rather than endure two long flights.
"But it’s tough when you have to leave your family for that long," Rucker said.
This is the third time the Cardinals have stayed in the East between games, with mixed results in the first two.
In Arizona’s 2008 Super Bowl season, coach Ken Whisenhunt had the team stay in the Washington, D.C., area after a 24-17 loss to the Redskins. The following Sunday, the Cardinals were routed by the New York Jets 56-35.
Two years ago, in Arians’ first season in Arizona, the Cardinals lost at New Orleans 31-7 then traveled to Tampa, Florida, to train the following week. But the practices there were washed out by heavy rains. Still, the Cardinals beat the Buccaneers 13-10 in a sloppy game, thanks to two interceptions by Patrick Peterson.
Notes: Arians said all the players "are healthy and ready to go. … It’s a first for me. We’ll have seven healthy scratches in October for a game." … Those returning include wide receiver J.J. Nelson, who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury. Nelson was the punt returner before he got hurt. Patrick Peterson now has that chore. Asked if the job would return to Nelson on Sunday, Arians said, "We’ll wait and see." … Despite Arians’ comments, Nelson and tight end Darren Fells (hip) were listed as questionable. … Arians said he knew the rule about batting away a fumble in the end zone before it was a non-call in Seattle that may have cost the Lions a victory. Asked what would happened if he’d been the coach in such a situation, he said, "There would have been a hell of a fight on that sideline." … The Greenbrier has a vast underground network that in the Cold War was to have been used by the federal government for its top officials in case of a nuclear attack.