New era notes: Cardinals ‘got a lot to learn from’ after preseason opener

Aug 14, 2023, 3:30 PM

Jonathan Gannon during Cardinals practice...

Head coach Jonathan Gannon of the Arizona Cardinals participates in a team practice ahead of the NFL season at State Farm Stadium on July 31, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

GLENDALE — For the first time under head coach Jonathan Gannon, the Arizona Cardinals have actual game film to dissect and digest following the team’s 18-17 preseason win over the Denver Broncos on Friday night at State Farm Stadium.

Players and coaches alike now have a new baseline to work off of, regardless of if it was a strong showing or tough night individually.

As Gannon put it Friday and again Monday, the most important thing from the tape is that you learn from it. That includes the good, the bad and the ugly.

And while it’s still early into Arizona’s week of prep for a Saturday night home tilt against the Kansas City Chiefs, Gannon is pleased with how the team has responded.

“We got a lot to learn from. It was a really good meeting yesterday as a team, units, individual,” the head coach said Monday. “I’m really enthused about our guys wanting to get better off of that tape. It’s the first time with different schemes, different players they’re going against and just trying to improve their game.

“I was very enthused about how our guys handled the last 48 hours from when we were done playing to as we sit here today.”

Passed with flying colors

The week kicked off with a bang for the Cardinals with the report that tight end Zach Ertz had been cleared to resume football activity and is on track to be ready for Week 1 of the regular season.

Gannon confirmed the news Monday, adding the plan is to now get Ertz back on the field this week.

“I think he’s coming off (the physically unable to perform list) this week and we’ll get him out there going,” Gannon said. “He’s excited. He had to go check in with his surgeon (last week) and did awesome on all the testing that goes on with that.

“He had to go out of state for that. He immediately texted me as he was going back the airport and he’s fired up. He wants to play football.”

A dry heat

Despite having a little more room to stretch out, the Cardinals cut their time short at State Farm Stadium this training camp.

Instead, it’s back to Tempe for the remainder of Arizona’s preseason slate that also includes an extended trip to Minnesota and nearly four weeks before the Cardinals open up the regular season against the Washington Commanders.

And it’s for good reason.

“Every training camp’s a little bit different. There are two things; One for myself, I wanted to dry run our schedule,” Gannon said. “The schedule that we’re using right now, the practice plan isn’t the same, but the schedule is the same as far as Week 1 Washington. And I wanted to get them in the heat a little bit. The first time that we’re truly in the heat, I didn’t want it to be practicing against Minnesota.

“We’re going to have to practice (outside) in the fall so I wanted them to get acclimated a little bit and kind of dry run our schedule. We had to tweak some things yesterday already but it’s good. That’s why we’re doing it.”

The plan moving forward in Tempe is to utilize both the outside practice fields in addition to the recently renovated field inside the bubble.

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