Wide receiver Anquan Boldin breaks free for some of his 186 receiving yards during the Cards' win in Seattle last season.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt promised he wouldn't make the same mistake again after last week, when he decided to forego the piped-in crowd noise at practice in preparing for a game.
With the Cardinals headed to Seattle's Qwest Field – without question the loudest open-air stadium in the league and arguably the loudest, period – the Cards even got an extra dose.
Normally the speakers are set up on Fridays, but the Cardinals were already working with them Thursday to prepare for the difficult road venue.
"You can try but you can't simulate what it's going to sound like," running back Tim Hightower said. "At times, you can barely hear the play call in the huddle."
Last season, the Cardinals seemed to handle the environment better, with only two false start penalties, both at the tight end position. Getting a lead – the Cards built a 26-7 edge at one point – didn't hurt in terms of quieting the crowd.
"Whenever you play an environment as loud as Seattle is, I mean, they have to lead the league in false starts," wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. "It's crazy."
Fitzgerald said the Cardinals use the shotgun so often they run well with silent counts, which is a must playing in any loud stadium. Even so, said quarterback Kurt Warner, the focus has to be that much more intense in order for a visiting team to have success.
"Being able to see movement out of the corner of your eye or in your peripheral, understanding when the ball is being snapped, or to communicate up there, those things are so critical," Warner said. "It's not just second-nature where you can yell at the guy next to you or you can hear the quarterback. You have to be tuned in to everything."
Q AND FITZ UNLEASHED
Last season's win in Seattle was marked by Pro Bowl-performances by the Cards' two Pro Bowl receivers. Fitzgerald had 10 catches for 151 yards while Anquan Boldin piled up 13 catches for 186 yards. The duo became only the third in NFL history to have matching 10-catch-and-150-yard-plus performances in one game.
"I don't think it has anything to do with this year," Whisenhunt said. "Hopefully, we will have some success. Our guys made some big plays last year. Certainly there were a couple that Anquan had some big run-after-catch plays. Larry made a couple of unbelievable catches down the field. That's the NFL."
Fitzgerald said there are some teams in the league that will stick to their defensive system regardless of the matchup, one of the things the Seahawks did last season – leaving room for the Cards' dynamic duo to operate. Seattle doesn't use that press coverage as much under new coach Jim Mora but "they still have dibs and dabbles of it sometimes."
Fitzgerald isn't necessarily counting on a repeat showing.
"I know me and Q will both be happy with a win, honestly, if that's what it comes down to," Fitzgerald said. "Now I wouldn't be crying or upset if I got 100 (yards) and I know Q wouldn't be either, but I don't know if that's the recipe for winning."
Linebacker Ali Highsmith was added to the injury report Thursday after he was limited with a thigh injury, but the rest of the Cards' report stayed the same.
Tight end Stephen Spach, who Whisenhunt said wasn't expected to play this weekend, remained sidelined. Four players – defensive end Kenny Iwebema (ankle), running back Jason Wright (back), cornerback Bryant McFadden (ankle) and wide receiver Steve Breaston (knee) remained limited.
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