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Players Say Game Gives No Choice

Posted Dec 30, 2009

Notebook: Preparing to win is best option in facing Packers

Steve Breaston, Adrian Wilson and the Cardinals are approaching their finale against Green Bay like any other game.
 
 
Kurt Warner mulled the conundrum of the Cardinals this week, especially if the Vikings win before the team takes the field against the Packers and the Cards can no longer achieve the NFC’s No. 2 seed.

Should the Cards pull back, knowing they will probably play the Packers again in a week? Or should they go after a victory and the No. 3 seed?

“It’s not my decision but I don’t know how you play that,” the quarterback said. “I don’t know what the right decision is. It’s one of those decisions where you don’t know until two weeks, three weeks down the road or until the game is over and everyone is healthy or everyone isn’t healthy and you second-guess everything.

“We’ll prepare to play. The one good thing is, most scenarios lead to us playing Green Bay again, so regardless what happens at least you are spending the time preparing for that team if we play them in two weeks.”

Coach Ken Whisenhunt didn’t change his thoughts from Monday, when he said the Cards have to prep like it’s a “game of significance” and adjust if need be.

“We’re preparing, game-planning, getting ready for Green Bay just like we have the 15 (games) before,” Whisenhunt said. “You keep the routine the same and we’ll see what happens.”

In the locker room, slowing up didn’t seem to resonate.

“How much rest can you possibly get from not playing 35 snaps?” Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson said, with the idea the starters could sit out the second half. “Our thoughts are we are going to play the game. That’s what Coach Whiz told us this morning, so we’re preparing to play the game.”

“We’re trying to win the game,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s what we do as professionals. … The likelihood we’ll play them again is pretty high, but I think we need to play well. I think everyone remembers what happens in the preseason.”

Warner said it was “human nature” to want to watch the Vikings-Giants game before kickoff and to peek at the scoreboard for Philadelphia-Dallas updates.

The Packers have less to play for, but coach Mike McCarthy – who said his team will return to Green Bay even if they have to play in Arizona two straight weeks – insisted his team won’t pull back at all.

“We talked about it as a football team and we’re going to keep playing,” said McCarthy, whose team has won six of seven. “The players want to play. The coaches want to play. I think it’s in the best interest of our football team to keep playing. Anytime you get to a point where you’re in sync and you’re in rhythm and you have some momentum, we’re like to keep that going.”

ON THE PRO BOWL

For the three Cardinals’ veterans who were named to the Pro Bowl – all as starters – the message was the same.

It’s nice, but that’s all.

“I’ve got bigger visions than just starting in the Pro Bowl,” defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said.
 
“It’s nice to be recognized from your peers and the fans,” Wilson said, “but at the same time that’s not why we’re in this business, not for Pro Bowls but Super Bowl championships.”

“My ultimate goal and the team’s ultimate goal is to go to the playoffs and take care of business and get the big ring,” Fitzgerald said.

Of course, Dockett, Wilson and Fitzgerald have all been to the Pro Bowl before. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is embracing his first-time honor a bit more, noting he’s come a long way since some bumpy times early in the season.

“The beginning of the year, I was still young, I got beat a few times but I expected that,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “I didn’t expect to come in and dominate. Stuff like that doesn’t bother me. I kept working and things started looking up for me.”

INJURY UPDATE

The Cards had just one player miss practice Wednesday: safety Antrel Rolle, who bruised his quad muscle, Whisenhunt said. The injury isn’t expected to be serious. Kicker Neil Rackers (groin) continued to kick and while he was limited, Whisenhunt hopes he can play against the Packers.

Also limited Wednesday were tight end Ben Patrick (head), fullback Dan Kreider (neck), defensive end Kenny Iwebema (head), Rodgers-Cromartie (toe), receiver Sean Morey (head) and running back Beanie Wells (groin). All are expected to be available this week.

Whisenhunt said linebacker Will Davis, still coming back from knee surgery, should play this week. Fitzgerald and cornerback Greg Toler, each of whom left Sunday’s game with left elbow injuries, practiced fully Wednesday.
 
CANFIELD LEAVES
 
The Cards lost guard Trevor Canfield, who was their final draft pick in 2009, off the practice squad when he signed to Seattle's active roster. To replace Canfield on the practice squad, the Cards signed guard Jonathan Palmer, who had been with six organizations since coming into the league in 2007.
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