SARASOTA, Fla. – Hindsight is 20/20, but if Bruce Arians looked in the rear-view mirror this week, the chances he'd have been able to see the car behind him would've been pretty slim.
The Arizona Cardinals woke up in Sarasota on Monday morning to torrential downpours that didn’t let up until about 3 p.m. local time Wednesday, a couple of hours after the team practiced at IMG Academy in nearby Bradenton. Once there, the Cardinals found muddy fields and enough water on both sidelines to constitute small ponds. But the team practiced anyway, even if Arians was less than thrilled about the weather.
“We would’ve gone somewhere where I knew it wasn’t going to rain or somewhere that had an indoor facility,” the coach said.
It wasn’t a knock on IMG, but rather his frustration with the weather pattern that settled over the west coast of Florida. When asked if flying back to Arizona was an option after last Sunday's game in New Orleans, Arians gave an emphatic answer.
“We would’ve stayed on the East Coast,” he said. “We were going to say on the East Coast no matter what.”
According to the National Weather Service, the weather in Tampa for the Cardinals' game Sunday against the Buccaneers is expected to be 88 degrees and mostly sunny. It’s supposed to rain again until about 2 p.m. on Thursday in Sarasota.
Because of the weather, the Cardinals were mainly relegated to their hotel, so Wednesday’s practice, even in the messy conditions, was a welcome reprieve.
“It’s been raining so much, there’s really nothing to do,” quarterback Carson Palmer said. “I’m sure everyone has seen a ton of film and had an opportunity to kinda be forced to watch too much film. It’s good to get out and move around and sweat and work out and do all that.”
The rain didn’t throw off the Cardinals’ preparation except for one thing.
Tampa Bay runs a lot of stunts on a defensive line that also moves often. Arizona was hoping to work on protecting against that, but Arians said he pushed back that part of practice back.
The heat and sunshine of Arizona seem like a distant memory now. While the rain finishes up, Arians just hopes it stays away from Sarasota, so he doesn’t have to open another press conference with this question:
“Does anybody got a boat we can borrow?”