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Falcons game prep has re-energized Palmer, Cardinals

Carson Palmer attempts to escape the pass rush in the Cardinals' loss to the Falcons. (Associated Press)
LISTEN: Carson Palmer, Cardinals quarterback

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Bruce Arians won’t learn much about his offense, defense or special teams in the preseason.

“Training camp and preseason is about evaluating players,” the Cardinals coach said Wednesday. “It’s not about where your offense is, where your defense is because you can’t — they’re not out there — unless you watch practice every day and even then there’s days it’s designed for younger guys, it’s designed for older guys. It’s never a fluid thing.”

The one possible exception comes Saturday when the Cardinals travel to face the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons on Saturday in the first game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Unlike its previous preseason games or the preseason finale, Arizona’s starters will play a significant amount of time and the Cardinals will game-plan.

“It’s a great test,” quarterback Carson Palmer said. “It’s a very good defense, very good offense, obviously. There’s going to be a lot of energy. I think this is the first game there, I assume right? So, yeah, a lot of energy. Kind of a regular season feel because of the excitement with the new stadium and all that. Just really looking forward to getting out and playing and continuing to grow as a group and as a team.”

Palmer admitted this week has had a different feel around camp because of the game-plans being installed and the fact that Arizona won’t be running the “very vanilla” offense it ran in previous weeks.

“We’ve got a lot of stuff we’ve been working that’s just not time to show,” he said. “We’ve spent different segments of camp working on different things, different schemes, different plays. We’ve gone through camp and seen a ton of different looks for a couple of days, sometimes one day, sometimes three practices with different fronts and different protections, issues that come up with those fronts.

“Just the way we prepare for this game is different. Every other week, you’re going against your own defense. This week, we’re starting to see looks that are Falcon looks. We’re watching film on them. It’s not a complete game-plan week but it’s as close as you can get to a game-plan week.”

With an extra week added this year because of the Hall of Fame Game against the Cowboys, Palmer admitted this year’s camp has grown dull.

“It’s just the monotony of training camp and the monotony of Pat [Peterson] over there and Ty [Mathieu] over there,” Palmer said. “Just seeing different players, going to a different stadium in a different environment, going on the road where it’s loud and it’s fun to go into those environments. It’s great. We’ve been champing at the bit to play again and we have an opportunity.”

Palmer said he’ll even take time to appreciate that new stadium smell in Atlanta.

“Yeah, I can’t wait to see it,” he said. “We went to Minnesota last year and got a chance to see it — beautiful stadium. I’ve heard a lot of good things. I’m looking forward to seeing it.”

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