Arizona Cardinals working smarter, not harder, with 2 games over 5 days
TEMPE — It’s a battle of attrition for the Arizona Cardinals this week.
Not long after the matchup against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, the Cardinals are back in action versus the New Orleans Saints on Thursday Night Football.
It’s a quick turnaround every NFL team has to face at some point or another in a given season.
With the amount of football that is going to be played over the next eight days and the current health of the team, it only made sense for head coach Kliff Kingsbury to hold a walkthrough instead of Arizona’s typical practice on Wednesday.
“I felt like we could use just some mental reps having everybody out there — even the guys going through some nicks and things like that,” Kingsbury said Wednesday. “It was good to have everybody out and really detail things up.”
It’s not out of the norm at all to hold walkthrough days now and again. The Philadelphia Eagles held one during their preparation for the Cardinals in Week 5.
They achieve two things: still getting in football-related activities and limiting the workload for those fighting to get back to full strength, something the Cardinals have quite a lot of.
One being starting center Rodney Hudson, who is considered day to day and was a nonparticipant in the team’s walkthrough on Wednesday. Hudson missed Week 5 with a knee issue.
While it’s unknown how much the center will practice this week, Kingsbury is confident in his ability to contribute to the offense if Hudson can get some sort of work in late in the week.
“We want him to feel great,” Kingsbury said. “It’s a long season. We really struggled last year when he went out and I felt like he was a part of that deal offensively that we took a step back, but we want to be smart. I think it’s really going to come down to how he feels this weekend.”
The same goes for running back James Conner. The lead back was knocked out of Cardinals’ loss to the Eagles with a ribs injury.
His status is up in the air for Sunday but appears to be in a better standing than the other banged up running backs on the roster, with Darrel Williams expected out this week with a knee issue and the Cardinals placing Jonathan Ward on the injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
If there was ever a week to have a walkthrough, it’s this one.
“We got two games in nine days, so the biggest thing is above-the-neck emphasis, especially because having two games, the physical aspect is going to have a toll on players,” safety Budda Baker said Wednesday.
“Kliff and the coaches are doing a great job of getting us recovered, rejuvenated and ready for this week and then ready for a short week next week.”