Quarterback Carson Palmer and the Cardinals embark on a true two-game road trip Saturday.
NEW ORLEANS – The bags were packed for this legitimate two-game road trip by Wednesday, and that helped the Cardinals.
Plenty of teams play two road games in a row but few literally are on the road the whole time, but that's what the Cards have this coming week. They play the Saints Sunday, fly to Florida, and spend a week there before playing the Buccaneers in Tampa.
"We have a mantra of 'day-to-day,' " Arians said. "And that's all we worry about, what we control that day, not two weeks from now, not December."
That starts with the Saints, which provides a greater task than just a potent playoff contender. The Cardinals arrived in New Orleans
Saturday evening and have a noon kickoff, which for the body clocks of the Arizona players means 10 a.m.
In the past, the Cardinals have had some problems with early starts, but that's changed some over the years. Last year, the Cards beat the Patriots on a 10 a.m. start, although the team did fly into New England on Friday night.
"It doesn't matter to me," cornerback Patrick Peterson said. "Once Sunday comes, I have to find whatever it takes to get up for that game, no matter when we're playing, no matter where we are playing. We can practice in the snow seven days a week. We can practice in Afghanistan seven days a week. We are professionals. We have to do what we need to do to get that 'W' "
Linebacker Sam Acho said plenty of players have been in early games before, whether it was in the NFL or in college. One thing the Cards have done, Acho added, is put even more attention to detail on their morning walkthroughs – which are usually around 10 a.m. – with the knowledge a game is coming about the same time.
The Cardinals (1-1) are facing an undefeated New Orleans team that has eeked out a pair of wins, needing a goal line stop against the Falcons at home in Week One and then pulling out a late road win in Tampa Bay last week.
"I guess it's a good thing when you don't play your best football and can still be 2-0 and can still win games," Saints quarterback Drew Brees said.
Soon enough, the Cardinals will be on to hot and humid Florida practices at IMG in Bradenton, near the Sarasota hotel at which they will be staying. The players, however, aren't thinking about it yet. Arians won't let them.
"It's easy for us to focus on New Orleans," nose tackle Dan Williams said. "It's the opponent for the week. Coach Arians always says you can only think about one opponent at a time because you can only play one opponent at a time. That's the mentality of the coach and the team takes that on. Win or lose, we will do the same thing next week."