Cardinals to prep for Patriots before low-key Thanksgiving
The Arizona Cardinals will not take Thanksgiving off.
A Tryptophan-induced drowsiness would be a very bad thing to have going against Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, even if the Pats are 4-6 heading into the Week 12 matchup. So head coach Kliff Kingsbury will have his players showing up for a light mental work-day on Thursday.
And they’ll happily take part before experiencing a quieter Thanksgiving than normal.
“All of us are very thankful to be able to do what we do,” receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “If you would have told me in June we’d be here in Week 11 or 12 of the season and we were still rolling as a league, I would have probably told you 50-50 with what’s going on. We’re clearly not out of the water with things, the way they’re going.
“We know a lot of Americans have suffered over these last few months.”
Cardinals players have used the holiday season to reach out to the less fortunate during these weird times. It’s involved new strategies.
Defensive tackle Corey Peters and his PEEP (Peters Educational Enrichment Project) organization distributed turkeys to families in the South Pointe School District earlier this week. With the help of the Harvest Compassion Center, he met with families virtually, through a community service robot.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson had his own holiday food drive through United Food Bank this past week as well. He also wasn’t able to attend in person, something he said in normal times helps him establish a rapport with the community.
With that community work being done around the long holiday weekend, the Cardinals will also continue their prep for New England.
Arizona will practice from 8 a.m. until around noon, Fitzgerald said, before heading home. Of course, with coronavirus spiking across the country as Thanksgiving hits, there are warnings from NFL teams who want to reduce any transmission of the virus.
“Just have to be smart,” cornerback Patrick Peterson said. “I know for me, Jace (Whittaker), he’s a rookie, he doesn’t have any family here, so I told him he’s more than welcome to come over to my house. I know he’s safe because he gets tested every day.
“For the most part, I think it’s going to be low-key this year.”
Peterson will spend Thanksgiving by celebrating his daughter Paityn’s fifth birthday. Cooking won’t be on his family’s to-do list this year in order to spend time with the family.
Fitzgerald will be picking up a fried turkey from assistant trainer Chad Cook, who prepares the birds for Cardinals employees every year. Fitzgerald will call his grandmother and visit family locally before getting to it.
“Get home, have something to eat, watch the games and fall asleep on the couch — usually, that’s about the routine,” Fitzgerald said. “Then wake up after that meal and then do it all over again. Make me another plate, get some peach cobbler, a little ice cream — not that I’m excited about it or anything like that.”
The man who on Wednesday met with reporters at 7 a.m., already hours into his work day, Kingsbury was looking forward to one thing in particular.
“Uh, being able to take a nap,” he said.
— Kingsbury isn’t concerned about the spread of coronavirus after safety Deionte Thompson was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday.
“(Head athletic trainer) Tom Reed’s done a phenomenal job following that stuff,” Kingsbury said. “Gets these morning emails around 3 a.m. and starts hashing through it, and it appeared that there wasn’t much contact tracing with D.T. I think a lot of the timing had a lot to do with it since we had the weekend off (after Thursday Night Football). That probably played in our favor. We feel pretty good about where we’re at now.”
— Kingsbury, on whether the Cardinals might carry three quarterbacks against the Patriots with Kyler Murray working through a right shoulder injury: “We’ve definitely discussed it. We’ll see how this week progresses and see our confidence level in where he’s at.”
— Defensive linemen Zach Allen (ankle) and Rashard Lawrence (calf) have been designated to return from the IR, but it seems only one of them could return for the game at New England.
“I would say Zach has a better chance than Rashard at this juncture,” Kingsbury said. “Zach was able to move around and do a few things yesterday. We’ll try to push him a little more today and see where that ends up. Rashard will probably be another week.”