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Cardinals Embracing NFC West Battles

Notebook: Stopping Lynch; Campbell optimistic he'll play; Helping Palmer with trust


Linebacker Daryl Washington brings down Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch during last year's Cards-Seahawks meeting in Arizona.

Before the season Cardinals coach Bruce Arians talked a lot about his team competing in the NFC West.

Competing and winning, however, are two different things, and the Cards go into Thursday night's home game against the Seahawks still chasing a division win this season after road losses in St. Louis and San Francisco.

There remains a whiff of regret from the 49ers game of a possibility that got away, though, and in the big picture, that could still mean something in the arena of confidence and knowing they could win such games.

"They obviously know now," coach Bruce Arians said. "I don't know if they all knew in that locker room Sunday (before the game.) But a bunch of them did. All of them know right now. There's no reason not to know it. It's time to do it."

The Seahawks (5-1) lead the standings, but if the Cardinals (3-3) can pull off a win, the complexion of the season changes.

"We just have to start believing a little bit more," defensive end Calais Campbell said. "I feel like we kind of believe but we have to get to a full-out, intense mentality that if we play our game the way we are supposed to, we can beat anybody."


The Seahawks' offense is run by quarterback Russell Wilson, but it revolves around running back Marshawn Lynch. And that doesn't

make it easy.

"The thing Marshawn Lynch, him and Frank Gore, they both run tough and finish every run," nose tackle Dan Williams said. "Every time '24' (Lynch) gets the ball it's going to be a battle. He fights for every yard. He's not going to go down very easily."

Lynch had 77 yards rushing and two touchdowns against the Titans last weekend and had another 78 yards on four catches. On the season he has 487 yards rushing and five scores, and in his last two games against the Cards, he had 213 yards on just 32 carries.

"He's one of the hardest ones to bring down," Arians said. "You love watching him play because he's having a lot of fun out there. He plays the game like a young guy. He's a real football player."


Campbell (neck) is officially listed as questionable for Thursday's game, and while he sounded optimistic he would play, he acknowledged he won't know for sure until he gets out on the field pre-game and sees how he feels.

"You don't want to miss this game," Campbell said. "But you want to be smart."

Said Arians, "Looks like he's ready to play."

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) practiced full Wednesday and is one of many "probables" for the Cardinals. Besides Campbell, the only other player not probable on the injury report is wide receiver Brittan Golden (hamstring), who is out for the game.

The Seahawks have three players out: T Breno Giacomini (knee), LB Bobby Wagner (ankle) and RB Spencer Ware (ankle). DE Chris Clemons (elbow) is questionable.


Arians acknowledged that Fitzgerald's hamstring problems, and subsequent limited time in practice, has made it more difficult for quarterback Carson Palmer, especially when it comes to chemistry with Fitzgerald.

"It's harder on Carson because he doesn't get to see him full speed in practice," Arians said. "The timing that we had earlier in the season is gone."


Earlier in the week, Arians said the players around Palmer needed to play better in order to help the quarterback – especially through his spat of interceptions.

Fitzgerald said the entire receiving corps has to get on the "same page" as Palmer and some of the issues can be avoided.

"When he is dropping back he has to trust that we will be in the places we need to be in so he can be confident when he is releasing the football," Fitzgerald said. "That would give him peace of mind."

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