ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals staying proactive over break; Fitzgerald gets birthday message

Aug 31, 2021, 5:18 PM | Updated: Sep 2, 2021, 1:09 pm

Budda Baker #3 and Christian Kirk #13 of the Arizona Cardinals participate in drills during Trainin...

Budda Baker #3 and Christian Kirk #13 of the Arizona Cardinals participate in drills during Training Camp at State Farm Stadium on July 28, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

TEMPE — The Arizona Cardinals have just one day left on the schedule before their mandatory four-day break following Tuesday’s practice.

It’ll give the players a chance to see their family and get some off time before the grind of the regular season begins churning.

But just because there’s no practices on the agenda until Monday, that doesn’t mean the work stops.

Like strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris tells the team, taking an extended layoff after grinding through training camp and practice is like running a car into a wall.

“This four-day break is gonna be new for all of us, all the NFL teams have to go through it,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said after practice Tuesday. “I don’t know how to feel about it just yet. As a coach you ramp up and you really don’t want to have four days to kinda back down, but it is what it is and we’ll deal with it and move forward.”

The head coach did add that while he isn’t quite sure about the break, it does provide the coaching staff the chance to get a jump on gameplanning for the week ahead.

With Arizona’s final preseason game canceled, that gave Kingsbury and Co. more time to prepare for their season opener against the Tennessee Titans, while giving the coaching staff a chance to get a jump on Week 2.

“We usually take it a week at a time, but throughout the offseason you’re looking at each opponent and kinda giving your own breakdown,” Kingsbury said. “I do think this weekend will allow us to get ahead on Week 2. It won’t be as hectic going into game week for sure.”

For the players, it’s about handling your business and remaining focused on the task ahead.

It’s definitely an adjustment for four-year wide receiver Christian Kirk. The wideout appears to have his gameplan for the time off set in stone, something he feels every Cardinals player should have for themselves.

“I’m definitely going to take at least one day to just let my body recharge and recover,” Kirk said. “I think the most important thing for me in my position is just staying in condition. It’s gonna be humid in Tennessee, so just making sure my lungs are good and just keeping my legs fresh so when Monday comes around I’m able to hit the ground full speed running and not have to worry about any speedbumps.”

The break is obviously new territory for everyone involved.

Given Arizona’s roster makeup and the veteran presence throughout the team, Cardinals linebacker Markus Golden doesn’t seem too bothered by the time away.

“I trust the guys we got to be safe and with the COVID of course you’re gonna be even more nervous,” the linebacker said. “I think it’s a good thing as long as you make sure you take care of your responsibility.

“A lot of guys, from talking to them, are still gonna be here coming in every day, so it’s the same thing. Not many guys leave and we’re gonna be here still putting the work in and be able to work out and stay in shape and just be getting ready for Week 1.”

Cardinals’ duo wish Larry Fitzgerald happy birthday ahead of practice

For the first time in quite a while, Larry Fitzgerald celebrated his birthday and wasn’t in the middle of preparing for the start of the regular season.

He may not be on the Cardinals roster as of Tuesday, but that didn’t stop some of his former Arizona teammates from reaching out to the now 38-year-old “old man.”

“I texted him at like 7:30 this morning,” Kirk said. “Sent him a little text. Me, Chase, Trent Sherfield and Fitz, we all have our little group chat that we like to text in, so we sent him a nice little message.

“Just said that we appreciate him, we’re grateful for him not only growing us as football players but as men off the field. Just appreciate all he’s done for us and old man now.”

The real question is, was Fitzgerald teeing off or working on his short game when he got the text?

Hopefully, he got a birthday mulligan.

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