Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians isn’t planning on getting caught without a game plan for the Rams game in London, or actually being IN London.
The Los Angeles Rams are part of a three season, three game NFL deal that has them playing in home games anywhere but at home. Next season, L.A. will “host” the Arizona Cardinals at Twickenham Stadium, where they hosted the New York Giants, and lost, last season.
Arians, who had a similar experience when part of the coaching staff in Kansas City, is keenly aware of planning for a game outside the United States. The Chiefs played a game in West Berlin, Germany in 1990.
The game in London, schedule for either October 22 or 29. Is also an NFC West matchup, not an inconsequential preseason exhibition, so keeping a routine the team is familiar with is critical for a Cardinals team rebounding from a 2016 that had them miss the playoffs.
Around the NFL: Deciphering the cryptic future of Giants’ DE, Owa Odighizuwa
cover32 Exclusive: Check out this exclusive interview with Raiders’ LB, Jelani Jenkins
That’s something Arians and the Cardinals are looking to reverse in 2017.
According to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN reporting from the NFL owners meeting, the Cardinals will leave Phoenix the Monday before the following Sunday game. Arians has planned for the team to go through a “glorified walk through practice”, then go about getting acclimated to the eight-hour time difference.
Being no fan of the International games the league regularly forces on NFL teams, the annual London excursion is becoming predictable each season. The upside, if fans and coaches are looking for one, is teams knowing how to prepare players from beginning to end.
The downside, as always is how it affects the fans of the “host” team. Locals lose a home game and are forced to watch their team at an odd hour on Sunday. Last season, Rams fans had a 6:00 am local kick time, something Cardinals fans will share with their Los Angeles brethren later this year.