NFL Week 1, Cardinals vs. Rams: Arizona begins game planning for St. Louis

Dilip Vishwanat

Monday's practice marks the first one preparing for a specific opponent.

While many were at home for the holiday, the Arizona Cardinals were back on the practice field for their first game planning practice of the 2013 regular season. The were outside for a long, hard practice before they got their holiday afternoon off.

It was a productive practice to kick things off. "We got a lot accomplished as far as getting started for the Rams on this bonus day," said head coach Bruce Arians.

There was evidence of some actual game planning. Tight end D.C. Jefferson wore a black number 89 jersey. His job was apparently to run as Rams tight end Jared Cook on the scout team. Practice squad receiver Kerry Taylor did the same, only wearing number 13, acting as St. Louis receiver Chris Givens. I did not see who was running the scout team as Tavon Austin.

It was the first time they spent any time on the Rams as a whole team. "We didn't touch the Rams last week as the players," said Arians. "Coaching staff, we did a lot of work on them. This was a total Rams practice."

Arians also said that it was not a challenge to scale things back in preparation. They are going through the offense and looking at what the coaches like and what quarterback Carson Palmer likes, comparing it with what matches up best with the Rams.

Offensively, receiver Michael Floyd is excited to get started. With the whole new offense Floyd believes "we have a lot of things that will go set up for us wide receivers to be a productive group and be one of the best groups in the NFL."

And they haven't even shown everything off yet. Like most other teams, the Cardinals "didn't show a lot of their stuff in the preseason." Floyd did say that Arians "has a couple of tricks up his sleeve" and that "we'll see what's cooking starting Sunday."

Patrick Peterson believes "it is going to be a physical game," with the running game coming first.

"They're going to run, run, run and try to take their shots when they can," said Peterson. "As a secondary, we have to be dialed in. I believe that if we don't give up the deep ball, give up the big play, we'll be pretty OK on the defensive side of the ball."

For the first time since last season, we are getting real preparation and we are on the verge of real games that count. Good time.

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