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Just Another Step


Cardinals (from left to right) Bertrand Berry, Travis LaBoy and Adrian Wilson and their teammates are trying to go 2-0 for the first time since 1991.

The fact has been repeated over and over the entire week, stark in its ugliness yet obvious in its place as the Cardinals' theme of Week 2.

The Cardinals haven't been 2-0 since 1991, and with struggling Miami visiting University of Phoenix Stadium Sunday, the franchise has a chance to rectify that.

For a team desperately trying to escape its troubled past, however, these are not the things players like to talk about. That was evident when Kurt Warner was asked about handling prosperity this week after just one game.

"If 1-0 is prosperity, I think we're in the wrong place," the Cardinals' quarterback

When: Sunday, 1:15 p.m.
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium
TV: CBS (Ch. 5)
Radio: News/Talk 92.3 FM (pregame at 10 a.m.)

said. "Prosperity has to be more than 1-0, so it shouldn't be hard to handle. That's why I kind of laugh at the question. I don't know if you count that as prosperity. We've won one football game. That's it."

There are only 10 Cardinals – out of the 53-man roster – who were even in high school the last time the Cards were 2-0.  It's not just the past, it is ancient history to most in the locker room.

But with goals much higher than a 2-0 start, the Cardinals are insisting the game against the Dolphins is important for almost every reason except that it'll put an end to their 2-0 drought.

"My thing is trying to get better, trying to take every win and every player and every situation and try to get better," defensive lineman Darnell Dockett said. "Two-and-oh don't mean nothing. Three-and-oh don't even mean nothing. It's about being consistent every Sunday. Worry about each day at a time.

"It's great people are all thinking about 2-0 and all that, but those are the same people that don't have to put the helmet on neither."

The Dolphins seem like the perfect opponent for the Cards' situation. Not only are they 0-1 after finishing 2007 1-15, but they are flying cross country for their first road trip of the season. The roster is still in flux too, as coach Tony Sparano and executive vice president of football operations Bill Parcells try to shape a team into their image.

"That first (win) is always the hardest one to get," Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington said. "We've got a big-time challenge ahead of us."

The Cardinals finished 6-2 at home last season and feel like they have developed a true home-field advantage at University of Phoenix Stadium. That concept is a long way from how the Cards felt playing to a half-empty Sun Devil Stadium for so many seasons.

This is the Cards' lone home game of the month. The next two games are at Washington and at the New York Jets (and in between, a week in which the team will remain on the East Coast to avoid travel fatigue), which creates more importance for Sunday.

That's why Warner was incredulous when asked about 1-0, and why inside the locker room the Cardinals are working just as hard at keeping focused as they are at game-planning each week.

"It's like an internship," safety Adrian Wilson said. "We are learning how to win, learning to take it one game at a time, one play at a time. That's ultimately what it boils down to."

It's a message coach Ken Whisenhunt can't repeat enough.

"The next stage for us is to win some games," Whisenhunt said. "Until we have won some games, there is no illusion about us having arrived."

Contact Darren Urban at Posted 9/13/08.

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