When the Arizona Cardinals saw back-to-back East Coast games in October on the schedule, they knew coming back to the Valley for practice would not be a smart option.
Instead, the team chose to travel from Detroit after their 42-17 win against the Detroit Lions to White Sulphur Springs, W.V. and spend the week training at the Greenbrier Resort — a well-to-do wonderland at the base of the Allegheny Mountains.
The team made similar moves in 2008 and 2013. In the former year, the trip was bookended by losses to the Washington Redskins and the New York Jets. In the latter, they spent a week at the IMG facilities in Bradenton, Fl after a 31-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints and followed it up with a 13-10 win in Tampa against the Buccaneers.
Cardinals president Michael Bidwill told Doug and Wolf Monday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM the team took notes from the New Orleans Saints, who use the facility for training camp. It features two natural grass fields and one with artificial turf along with meeting rooms, meal rooms and a place for the entire medical staff to set up, all just a quarter mile from the historic hotel where the team is staying.
“We’re really just sleeping at the hotel and then we go over to that training facility to do the rest of our work,” Bidwill said. “We’ve got the media set up over there and everybody else.
“We’ve got about 135 people out here this week, we traveled all of our doctors and everybody else out here. Our whole staff is set up. The training facility here is superior. It’s outstanding. Everything is on site here. We don’t have to bus people back and forth from hotels or anything.”
Staying at the Greenbrier provides a lot of logistical positives including state-of-the-art facilities, convenience, and relatively close proximity to Pittsburgh where the Cardinals will play an early game on Sunday. Moreover, Bidwill thinks the mountain getaway will also provide a mental advantage for the team.
“I think this week is going to be a very important week when we look back at the 2015 season,” Bidwill said. “After that win [against Detroit], we all came back here and there was a big group of players down at JJ’s, one of the restaurants here. All these guys were hanging out together and getting some food and just chilling. Tonight we’re going to watch Monday Night Football all together in that same restaurant. We’ve taken over the restaurant and we’re going to have everyone there.
“This is the time where the guys bond. They’re away from their families, it’s like a mini training camp where they can get away from it all. And you’re away from it all in Lewisburg, W.V. I can guarantee you that. You can see the bonding, I could see it yesterday for a couple of hours. You just look at that camaraderie and that sense of team, this will be an important week.”
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