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The Emotional Edge Versus Seattle


Defensive end Bertrand Berry waves to Seattle fans as the Cardinals were about to beat the Seahawks earlier this season on the road.

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said his team needs to treat Sunday's regular-season finale against the Seahawks like a playoff game – although he did add the caveat "within reason."

His team needs that kind of focus and intensity, although quarterback Kurt Warner said it was easy for players to say that but they will still know in the backs of their heads the outcome means nothing.

The Cards may be aided in the fact the same goes for Seattle.

The Seahawks will see Mike Holmgren coach his final game for them Sunday, but Seattle might not have much left after their home finale win for Holmgren last week against the Jets.

"All the emotional buildup all season was probably funneled into that game," Holmgren said. "The challenge of getting the team going to play this last game, I've got to approach it a little differently."

If the Cardinals can beat the Seahawks, Arizona will finish 6-0 within the NFC West, the first time the franchise would have ever made it through a season undefeated within its division.

While the tangible motivation isn't there for the Cards, the knowledge they have played poorly of late and could go into the playoffs with a three-game losing streak doesn't sit well, either.

"Nobody cares about whatever everybody is thinking, that 'They have gone from sugar to (expletive),' " defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said. "Those are the same people who have never played football in their life. I think we have guys on this team that can lift other guys up and get us going in the right direction. That's what will happen."


Wide receiver Anquan Boldin sat out practice again Friday because of his sore shoulder, but coach Ken Whisenhunt said Boldin will be a game-day decision and that he'd like to be able to get Boldin at least a few snaps against the Seahawks heading into the playoff game.

"But once again, you don't want to set him back," Whisenhunt said,

Defensive end Travis LaBoy (ankle) and safety Matt Ware (calf) are listed as doubtful for the game. Boldin joins six teammates – tight end Stephen Spach (ankle), safety Aaron Francisco (ribs), running back J.J. Arrington (knee), defensive end Kenny Iwebema, safety Adrian Wilson (toe) and defensive tackle Gabe Watson – as questionable. Watson officially skipped practice Friday as a team decision, with the Cards choosing to let Watson rest his surgically-repaired knee.


Holmgren said before the season this would be his final year in Seattle. He hasn't ruled out eventually returning to the NFL, but he insisted in a conference call earlier this week he would definitely sit out 2009 as he originally promised his wife. The Holmgrens have a house in the Biltmore area in Phoenix and will recharge there.

Holmgren said it was injuries and not his farewell season that undermined Seattle's year.

"I honestly don't believe it happened," Holmgren said of the idea his players tuned him out. "It was just that we were hurting. We lost some games maybe we could have won, perhaps. I don't know. I was proud of the way the players handled it. They knew I was the boss."

Whisenhunt said coaching against Holmgren was always "a challenge."

"I have to be honest and say I am happy we don't have to coach against him twice a year anymore," Whisenhunt said. "But I have a great deal of respect for him."

With Holmgren's departure, Whisenhunt becomes the longest-tenured coach in the NFC West with his two seasons.


The Seattle game Sunday is a sellout, meaning it will be shown on local television. It is the Cardinals' 30th straight sellout at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Contact Darren Urban at Posted 12/26/08. Updated 12/26/08.

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