Cardinals at Giants preview: Long trip, early start should be no problem

Sep 13, 2014, 5:25 AM | Updated: 5:25 am

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TEMPE, Ariz. — Larry Fitzgerald seemed almost offended by the question about how the Cardinals have traditionally struggled when playing in an Eastern time zone.

“That was a long time ago, a long time ago,” he said. “That was the old Cardinals. We put that to bed a long time ago.”

Fitzgerald pointed to the Cardinals’ success in such situations last season, bringing up wins in Tampa Bay and Jacksonville along with a game the team had “stolen from us” in Philadelphia, as reasons to believe whatever issue there was with playing back east is no longer an issue.

It’s worth noting that in those three games, the Cardinals scored a combined 21 first-half points.

So while they may have been good enough to win the games, slow starts were definitely an issue, which is something that is worth mentioning ahead of Arizona’s Week 2 matchup in New York with the Giants. Kickoff is slated for 10:00 a.m. Arizona time.

“We try to do everything we can,” coach Bruce Arians said of preparing for the trip. “We’ll obviously leave [Friday] so that we’re fresh and not traveling.”

The Cardinals are not the only team that seems to struggle with playing games earlier than they are used to. Statistics have shown that while road games are inherently difficult to win, teams tend to fare worse when making the long flight and having to suit up early in the day. Many, like the Cardinals last season, have even decided to skip a return flight home in between east coast games, opting instead to stay on the road and keep themselves acclimated to the timing.

Including Sunday, the Cardinals have just two games which will be played during the morning in Arizona, and they are not in consecutive weeks. So, preparing the early start will be handled on a week-by-week basis.

“The only thing we did, we moved up practice to where our Thursday and Friday we practiced at 10 o’clock,” Arians said. “So everybody was in the building at six lifting, and the meetings started at seven. Kickoff is at 10 o’clock our time, so we were on the practice field at 10 o’clock trying to get as acclimated to that as we can.”

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