The Cardinals are practicing this week at the Peformance Center at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. – NFL teams are sticklers for routine, and after Sunday's 42-17 throttling of the Lions, the Cardinals likely would have welcomed the status quo this week.
That went out the window mere hours after the game in Detroit, when their plane flew east instead of on a return course to Phoenix. The Cardinals arrived at The Greenbrier Resort on Sunday night, a place they will stay through Friday before heading to Pittsburgh for their Week 6 matchup with the Steelers.
The Cardinals requested back-to-back East Coast trips once they saw the scheduled road games specifically to do this. Coach Bruce Arians stayed east with the Cardinals in 2013, when they lost to the Saints and then went to Florida for a week
before beating the Buccaneers. Ken Whisenhunt's 2008 team also stayed in Virginia to practice between games in Washington and New York.
Arians likes the idea because the flight is shorter, which results in less swelling for players who were injured and no major jet lag. He said the different surroundings shouldn't be a detriment as the team aims to improve to 5-1 next week.
"You're in a same office," Arians said. "It's got four walls. It was a lot easier traveling here (Sunday) night than going all the way back to Phoenix, especially with all those guys that were hurt.
"We knew coming here it was going to be an outstanding facility and we could get our work done and it wouldn't be any kind of distraction," he added.
The Greenbrier is a nice resort but a secluded one. It was built in 1858 and has hosted 28 presidents.
"It's peaceful, it's quiet, nothing to do but focus on football," defensive end Cory Redding said. "Great facilities. I'm still in awe, and I'm still trying to find my way around here, too. The person at the front gave me a map and a flashlight. Told me, 'May the force be with you. Find your way around.'"
The Cardinals were so good against the Lions that mental lapses seem to be the biggest worry as they turn the page. Quarterback Carson Palmer finished the game 11-of-14 for 161 yards and three touchdowns, and running back Chris Johnson is now tied for second in the NFL with 405 rushing yards after an 11-carry, 103-yard performance.
The defense was even better, forcing six turnovers which resulted in game balls for safety Tony Jefferson (12 tackles, two forced fumbles), safety Deone Bucannon (11 tackles, two for loss) and safety Rashad Johnson (five tackles, two interceptions, one fumble recovery).
With a week outside their normal rhythm, Redding said it's imperative for the Cardinals not to lose their edge.
"There's something that can derail us, and that's us," he said. "We have to stay focused."
After nearly perfect health entering the Lions game, the Cardinals emerged with some potentially major injuries. Linebacker Kenny Demens suffered a torn ACL in the contest and will be placed on injured reserve. Arians said the team will look for a roster replacement before Wednesday's practice.
Linebacker Alex Okafor (calf) and safety Chris Clemons (hamstring) had MRIs Monday but the severity of their injuries isn't yet known. Arians said the potential loss of Okafor, last year's sack leader, for a significant stretch would be a tough blow.
"He's been getting after the passer since he's been healthy," Arians said. "That's the one guy that can get there with the front four."
There are the normal bumps and bruises in addition to the more severe injuries. The Cardinals had a light day on Monday as their bodies recuperated and Tuesday is the players' day off.
There is a lot to do at the resort, including kayaking, tennis, horseback riding and golf, and the players will fan out and do what interests them most. But Tuesday will be the extent of the vacation feel.
"We're going to rest (Monday), Tuesday is our off day so again rest, and then Wednesday hit it hard," Redding said.
The top images from the Cardinals' 42-17 win over the Lions on Sunday