TEMPE, Ariz. — Often times it seems like the worst place for a football player to be is away from the field.
On the field, the worst thing someone can do is commit a bad penalty. Off it, well, the possibilities are limitless.
So, as the Arizona Cardinals head into their bye week, head coach Bruce Arians had some help in delivering a message to his team.
“We had a great speaker today, a Navy SEAL,” he said Wednesday. “Talked about resting or reloading, then the difference between the two.
“Hopefully we reload, come back Monday for a great practice.”
Then, Arians added his own message.
“Don’t be ‘the guy,'” he said. “Too many times, when a guy gets a day off he gets tased in Miami, in South Beach or something. We don’t want any of that stuff; we don’t need any distractions, that was the message.”
Throughout the week, Arians talked about how pleased he was with his team’s mindset heading into the break. At 4-4 the Cardinals are very much in the thick of the NFC playoff race, and the first-year boss wants to make sure his players come back ready for the second half of the season.
But part of that is avoiding even thinking about the postseason.
“Playoffs, they’re months away, and if you start worrying about them you won’t be in them,” he said. “It’s a day-to-day process. We play the Houston Texans next, and the only way to be ready for the Houston Texans is to have a great Monday, then a great Tuesday, then a great Wednesday.
“You control what you do, those 24 hours. Put it to bed and go to the next one, and then you’ll just stack them up pretty good on Sunday.”
Cornerback Patrick Peterson is taking a similar approach, saying he sometimes peeks at the standings but tries not to focus on them too much.
“Obviously, the last couple years we haven’t had an opportunity to do any peeking,” he said. “This year, we’re at .500 and we want to keep getting some wins and hopefully, later down the road, I can start peeking.”
How do they get to that point?
“We’ve just got to win the games we’re supposed to,” Peterson added. “We’ve got a good stretch of winnable games…looking at the schedule, we believe there’s no team on our schedule that can beat us if we go out and play Cardinal football.”
That means, according to Peterson, playing fast, physical and with relentless effort. They also must be mistake-free.
That includes this weekend, when they will not even be playing a game.