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Cards Dealing With Short Week

Notebook: Recovery time shrinks with Saturday game in New Orleans

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Cardinals wideout Steve Breaston makes a one-handed grab over Packers cornerback Tramon Williams during Sunday's victory.
 
 
The Cardinals won't have much time to recover from Sunday's draining Wild Card playoff win, not with their Divisional playoff game Saturday in New Orleans.

Kickoff will be at 2:30 p.m. Arizona time.

The Cards have to move their schedule up a day, putting the players through a Wednesday practice on Tuesday, some 36 hours after playing.

"We'll play today if we needed to," wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said Monday. "It's the playoffs. It doesn't matter where you're playing, what time you're playing, what day you're playing, you suck it up."

Of course, Fitzgerald added, "We would have taken the first-round bye if they would have given it to us."

The coaching staff was working on little sleep Monday. While the unique back-to-back games against the Packers gave the Cards a boost in prepping for their first playoff game, the Cards haven't seen the Saints since December of 2007.

"We're going to have to modify our practice to make sure we can get our legs back," Whisenhunt said. "But I think our football team is tough enough mentally at this point that they can overcome that, as long as physically we can recover."

ON THE FACEMASK

The final play of the game – on which cornerback Michael Adams hit Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to force a fumble returned for a touchdown by linebacker Karlos Dansby – became a source of nationwide debate after replays showed Adams apparently grasping Rodgers' facemask.

No penalty was called. The NFL has eliminated the five-yard "incidental" facemask call, so any foul has to include a "twist, turn or pull" according to the rule book. Even then, it's left to the judgment of the officials.


"There are all kinds of plays during the course of the game that go on," Whisenhunt said. "That, to me, is the way they called the game. I haven't really looked at it in depth. I was more focused on seeing the ball come off Aaron Rodgers' foot and go into Karlos' hands and him running for a touchdown."

Rodgers told Green Bay reporters he wasn't upset, instead saying his focus was on his overthrow of a wide-open Greg Jennings on the first play of overtime that likely would have won the game.

"There's always going to be one or two plays in the game where you wonder should there be a call, shouldn't there be a call, but those are out of my control," Rodgers said. "I made some mistakes in the game. Those are the ones I'm thinking about. Not a potential facemask. .. The one play I was thinking about laying in bed was the first play of overtime. Unfortunately, I just missed Greg."

TACKLING THE SECONDARY ISSUES

With the Packers exploding in the second half through the air, the Wild Card game became a rough time for the Cardinals' secondary. Adams ended up in the spotlight after his issues, but all of the starters – cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Bryant McFadden and safeties Adrian Wilson and Antrel Rolle – took their own hits at times.

Whisenhunt said he wanted the coverage to be better, but his big problem was with missed tackles.

"We were sloppy in our secondary play," Whisenhunt said. "We were around their guys and didn't tackle."

Tackling and coverage issues will be an emphasis this week, Whisenhunt added.
 
PROTECTION PROGRESSION

Whisenhunt said the offensive line played "as good a game as a group as the line has played all year."

Quarterback Kurt Warner was sacked just once, and that was only a technical sack – the ball was knocked out of his hand for a fumble during a pass play, which is recorded officially as a sack.

"(The line) responded to the challenge that was put on them the night before the game," Whisenhunt said. "The thing that was most evident to me was how they finished down the field. A lot of times, when you see the receivers jumping around in the end zone after a touchdown, we had three or four linemen that would run down the field too.

"They're going to try to get out of running conditioning this week because they said they got in extra in the game. I'm not going to let them out of that."

EXTRA POINTS

Whisenhunt said defensive end Calais Campbell played well in his brief appearances and will play more against the Saints now that he showed he can hold up with his left thumb in a cast. Because Campbell didn't practice against the run last week due to the injury, the Cardinals tried to only use him in passing situations Sunday. …

The final play of the game – Dansby's mid-air grab of a fumble – was reviewed to see if the arm of Rodgers had been going forward, which would have made the play an interception instead. It was determined the play was indeed a fumble. …

Whisenhunt said he didn't know of any new injuries, and the status of Anquan Boldin (knee, ankle) will continue to be wait-and-see.

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