TEMPE – It’s off to Tennessee for the Arizona Cardinals.
But instead of two days of joint practices with the Titans ahead of Saturday’s Week 3 preseason game as originally planned, the two teams are cutting their time on the field together.
The reasoning behind the switch? Injuries.
“I asked for it,” Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Tuesday. “I called (Titans head coach Mike Vrabel) and asked him just with where we are health-wise. “Let’s go, let’s have a nice competition and come out healthy.”
Instead of having two working days together, the plan now calls for limited but competitive periods on Wednesday, where each team works on its own before meeting at different times during training.
“Not just a knockout, drag-out type practice,” Kingsbury said. “I think we’re both in the same situation, some guys have bumped into each other but we want to start that competitive fire.”
On Thursday, the Cardinals bring things back to scale with a mental day for everyone ahead of a virtual tour on Friday.
The Cardinals are currently dealing with a long list of injuries, especially along the offensive line. In addition to a handful of starters in Will Hernandez (ankle), Rodney Hudson (knee) and Justin Pugh (stinger) struggling with some sort of injury issue, rookie Marquis Hayes is still “a week or two” away from his back from a minor knee injury.
In an effort to fight injuries, the team even went so far as to trade former Buffalo Bills OL Cody Ford on Monday for more depth in the room.
But working with the Titans isn’t the only thing Arizona is focused on over the next few days away from Arizona.
“I want it to be camaraderie and team spirit type stuff,” Kingsbury said. “We will have events and do things together. Obviously we have to be smart, but I think it’s going to be a good trip for these guys to be together and reunite and break up for a bit.
Don’t ask the head coach to roam the bars looking for his players at 3 a.m., he’ll be sleeping at 9 a.m.