The Cardinals know they have one step left to go in the postseason.
Kurt Warner paused.
There was a question about the Cardinals, being NFC Champions, possibly being satisfied with it since the franchise had never scaled such heights. The team?s quarterback, who all along has repeated ? over and over and over ? the Cards accomplish nothing without a Lombardi Trophy, looked almost irritated in his response.
?We?re in the Super Bowl,? Warner said. ?There?s no time for a letdown now. I don?t know how to answer that question. I don?t know how you get to this point and have any kind of letdown.
?If you can?t commit two more weeks and give everything you have, I think you?re
in the wrong business.?
The Cardinals return to the practice field Thursday for Super Bowl XLIII. Players got an extra day off with the game Feb. 1, but they will get their normal three practices in through Saturday. A final off day comes Sunday, and the team leaves Monday morning for Tampa.
They have promised they will stay focused on finishing this magical ride in the postseason. With the extra time off, the hype and celebration of winning a conference title and the media blitz yet to come in Florida, losing sight of the championship is possible.
Based on the way the Cardinals reacted after their win, however, it shouldn?t be a issue.
?We can?t over-hype anything, over-emphasize anything,? guard Reggie Wells said. ?We just need to keep preparing the way we have been preparing. That?s been working to this point, so there?s no reason to change now.?
Other than the slight change of days, the players? daily schedule will not change. And since they already went through a week of media crush before the NFC Championship, that part of their duties is familiar.
The distractions should be at a minimum. Players were informed Tuesday about the availability of tickets, hotels and flights for their families, so those issues should be gone by the time meetings begin Thursday. The extra time off will minimize injury problems, and the Cards are fairly healthy anyway.
Some of that will change next week away from home ? more than 3,000 media are expected for Tuesday?s media day, which is 60 minutes of constant questions ? but coach Ken Whisenhunt pointed out the team already got a dry run of spending a week on the road with their Virginia stay in September.
?You have to enjoy the process,? Warner said. ?You are going to be pulled in a million different directions. There?s going to be media everywhere, there are going to be people asking for autographs. The more uptight you are about it, the less you enjoy it and I think the harder it is for you to prepare.?
A handful of players still came in to work out Tuesday and Wednesday. Many were working out Monday and avoided the media crush altogether.
The accomplishment of Sunday doesn?t go away, but the afterglow has faded as the preparation for the Super Bowl has arrived.
?We still have to finish,? linebacker Gerald Hayes said. ?The job is not done yet. When the job is done, then I can celebrate.?
The Cardinals delayed beginning practice for a day, but the NFL still required an injury report, including designations for Wednesday?s ?practice.? As a result, the Cards approximated their injured players? situations ? and it will likely be a foreshadowing of how the players are used in practice Thursday.
Running back J.J. Arrington is one surprise on the list, as a ?Did Not Practice? with a sore knee. Defensive end Travis LaBoy (biceps) also had a ?DNP.? Defensive end Antonio Smith (knee) and punter Ben Graham (groin) were called ?limited,? while wide receiver Anquan Boldin was given the ?full? designation, meaning he should be fine to practice full go.
Boldin is expected to be close to 100 percent by the time of the Super Bowl. LaBoy will likely be the only question mark for the game, which is still 10 days away.
The Steelers held 10 players out of practice Wednesday, but none of the injuries are expected to keep a player out of the final game.