Losing on the road in the manner the Arizona Cardinals did Sunday — a 31-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints — was tough enough.
Having to stay out on the road and reflect on the defeat without the comforts of home and family? Well, that’s a different obstacle entirely.
However given the proximity between their Week 3 and Week 4 games — 90-minute flight from New Orleans to Tampa — that’s exactly the challenge the Cardinals have elected to face head-on as they prepare in Sarasota, Fla. this week for their upcoming showdown with the Buccaneers.
And while the extended road trip isn’t necessarily a common occurrence over the course of a 17-week season, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians thinks the scheduling decision might be the best medicine for a team coming off a 24-point loss.
“[Preparing for the game away from home] should be easy, because it’s essentially training camp again,” Arians told Arizona Sports 620’s Bickley with Marotta. “We talked a lot in training camp about handling change. We addressed this situation last week and again today.
“We’re here for a purpose, and I think our veteran leadership will make sure there’s one focus. There’s not a heck of a lot to do here, so we have plenty of time to sit down and play football, study football and get our best effort to get to 2-2.”
While 2-2 seems achievable given that the Buccaneers head into Sunday’s game with a bevy of problems to contend with — an embattled coach (1-8 in last nine games) who is on the verge of losing the locker room, little production from the quarterback position (175 yards passing/game) and a lack of discipline (nine penalties/game) — Arians noted that Greg Schiano’s squad is a much better team than its 0-3 record might indicate.
“This is a game we have a chance to win,” said Arians. “They’re extremely, extremely physical and fast up front defensively. They pose a lot of problems. I look at this team and they’re two plays, not two series but two plays away from being 2-1.
“They’ve had some opportunities to win both of their games before this past weekend. It’s going to be a great challenge.”
Arizona will also have to contend with another factor. Since their 20-18 win over the New England Patriots in Week 2 of 2012 season, the Cardinals have gone winless in nine straight road games.