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Bills, Cards Both Have Spent Week Away

Notebook: Buffalo training at ASU; Sunday game sells out; Hyphen gets upgraded


The Cardinals spent a week in the Washington, D.C., area in 2008 between East Coast games, practicing at Catholic University.

The Cardinals have been through this before and know what it's like.

Sunday's opponent, the Buffalo Bills, played in San Francisco last weekend and instead of flying all the way back to New York and then flying back to Arizona, the Bills instead came directly to Arizona and are spending the week practicing at Arizona State University.

"To not have to get on a plane, fly to the East Coast and then get on one again to fly west I think will benefit us," said Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who happens to be from the nearby city of Gilbert. "They are trying to make it easy on the players."

The Cardinals have spent a week on the road between road games three times since 2008, twice in the preseason. In 2010, the Cards played in Tennessee in the preseason, remained in Tennessee to practice and then played the Bears a few days later. This year, the Cardinals played in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, and then flew to Missouri where they practiced a few days before taking on the Kansas City Chiefs.

But in 2008, the Cards had their lone regular-season week away from home. Coach Ken Whisenhunt decided, with back-to-back games in Washington and New York against the Redskins and Jets, to keep his team in Virginia for the week.

"It can be very beneficial," said safety Adrian Wilson, who was on that team. "It's almost like a mini-training camp, brings the guys together. They are forced to do more things together, the living quarters are together. At the same time, you're not really getting the same treatments you'd be getting if you were at home."

The Cardinals lost in Washington and then lost in New York in a blowout loss most remembered for the broken jaw suffered by wide receiver Anquan Boldin near the end of the game. At the time, Whisenhunt half-joked the week would serve as good training for a Super Bowl since a team has to be gone the week before that game as well. That notion became prophetic when the Cardinals indeed played in the Super Bowl – and spent a week in Tampa – later that season.

"What it boils down to is whether it is beneficial for the players to stay on the East Coast or the West Coast for back-to-back games or is it better to fly all the way back?" Wilson said. "The reason for that, ultimately, is to win, to give your players the best chance to win."


The offense's performance against the Rams wasn't what the Cardinals' wanted, but it was the first time this season the Cards didn't generate at least 20 points in a game. The possibility is there for it to be an aberration rather than a trend – but it's up to the offense to prove it so, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said.

"That's what we hope to make it," Fitzgerald said. "I'd love to be able to say, six weeks from now, 'You guys remember that debacle in St. Louis?' after we have rattled off a couple wins. But that's on us. It's on our shoulders to make the (Rams') game a 'blip' game."


The game Sunday is officially a sellout, meaning the game will be televised locally. Because the Bills, an AFC team, are the visitor, the game will be shown on CBS (Ch. 5). It is the 69th straight game the Cardinals have sold out at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The Cardinals will also be wearing their black alternate jerseys for the game.


Running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (hip) was upgraded from limited to full at practice, a good sign for a team who needs a full complement of running backs going into Sunday's game. The rest of the injury report remained unchanged Thursday, meaning cornerbacks Michael Adams and Greg Toler, linebackers Quentin Groves and Reggie Walker, and fullback Anthony Sherman remained sidelined.

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