- Josh Weinfuss, ESPN Staff Writer
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- When Arizona coach Bruce Arians saw the Cardinals’ schedule back in April, he had a one-word response. But it wasn’t for the reasons one would expect.
“I went, ‘Wow,’” Arians said Tuesday night on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “To go to San Francisco, probably [one of] the two more physical teams that we’ll play all season and then come back in the short week to play the team [Seattle] that’s favored. I can’t remember … it’s never happened to me in 21 years.”
The NFL didn’t do the Cardinals any favors scheduling their two biggest NFC West games of the season within 96 hours of each other. If Arians didn’t like playing on Thursday then, and now that he's in the middle of the most crucial week of the season for Arizona, he likes it even less.
“I don’t think it’s really fair to the players, especially the veteran players,” Arians said. “This is really, really hard on them. There are so many [times] over the course of the last 10 years I’ve seen guys that could not play on Thursday but could play on Sunday. And that’s really hard on a football team.”
The Cardinals have two players who are questionable, Arians said, but he didn't say who.
“I’m more concerned, as the head coach, if they tell me they’re ready to go, are they really ready to go?” Arians said.
Arians said Monday he began game planning for the Seahawks last summer. He began breaking down tape of last year's team as soon as he could.
But the real preparation began in earnest last Wednesday and Thursday, Arians said. Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said he began working on Seattle last Friday night and early Saturday morning.
Arians said working last week allowed the Cardinals to begin this abbreviated week ready to practice. Eliminated were Monday’s film day and Tuesday’s off day. Instead, Monday was like a Wednesday, Tuesday like a Thursday and Wednesday will be like a Friday and Saturday.
“We’ll do our Friday practice [on Wednesday] morning and we’ll go to the hotel like a Saturday night,” Arians said.
Veteran center Lyle Sendlein said his body usually starts feeling sore from the previous week’s game on Tuesday, just two days before Arizona has to play again. While readying their bodies is one part of playing on a short week, preparing their minds is an entirely different philosophy.
Safety Rashad Johnson said getting ready for a Thursday night game is easy, but different.
“You got to spend more time on your own outside of the building because you don’t have Thursday, Friday, Saturday before the game. Just got to do extra prep on your own and be a professional. That’s what we’re here to do.”
Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald also isn’t a fan of Thursday night games, but he took solace in the fact that the Seahawks are also playing on a short week and they have to travel.
“Thursday night games, not particularly are the funnest,” Fitzgerald said. “But any time you get a chance to play in front of a national stage and let the world see what your team is all about it’s a great opportunity.”