GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The dog days of training camp are here.
Crowds are sparse now that school has started across the Phoenix area. Weeks drag on.
The Arizona Cardinals are almost four weeks into training camp, and the daily grind of practices has become monotonous.
"It's kind of getting boring out there," coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday. "They're getting bored with each other, looking more forward to games, and you have to fight through that. I think we'll fight through it better today."
Since the players reported to camp on July 21 -- about a week earlier than most of the league, because the Cards played in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 3 -- they've been living out of a hotel next to the stadium. That alone has been getting the best of some. Quarterback Carson Palmer said the Cardinals have to "fight" through the mixture of hotel living, hotel food and having a roommate.
And it doesn't help that the Cardinals are seeing other teams break camp while they still have a week until they get to go home.
"It's tough," safety Tyrann Mathieu said. "We're kind of hitting a wall. I think our biggest thing is a lot of guys just want to sleep in their own beds. We started camp a week earlier than everybody else and we're still here.
"We just have to finish strong."
By the time Arians dismisses his players, they will have gone through 18 open practices plus three closed practices. That's thousands of snaps, plenty of time for the offense and defense to learn, well, a lot about the other.
"It's funny because at this point they know all our calls, we know all their calls," center A.Q. Shipley said. "You can see it in practice. We make a call for a double-team, and guys are playing out because they know the double-team's coming.
"It becomes monotonous. It's part of what it is, but it's good work."
Neither Palmer, Shipley nor Mathieu disputed Arians' assertion that camp has become boring. One way to fight the boredom is to face another team, which will happen for the third time this preseason on Saturday, when the Cards host the Chicago Bears at University of Phoenix Stadium.
But Arians doesn’t call these matchups "games," at least not for the starters. He calls them "practices." "They're only out there for 15, 20 plays," Arians said.
Even so, he added, "there's a different level of excitement."
And according to Palmer, there is an upside to the tedium of camp.
"There's a lot of things you got to fight through through training camp, and that's what training camp is," Palmer said. "It hardens you and makes you a better team, the more time that you spend around each other.
"But there's no doubt that guys are waiting for next Thursday, counting down the days."