This week, the Cardinals must battle for their playoff lives. Brett Favre and the Vikings stand between the Cards and a .500 record. At the halfway point in the season, 4-4 is a decent mark and leaves much room for improvement. If Arizona falls to 3-5, the season is pretty much over.
One step into the Cardinal locker room, however, and all thoughts of another, depressing season are lost.
Today, jokester Darnell Dockett decided that he would put the infamous “they are who we thought they were” speech by Denny Green, given during the post-game interview after a heartbreaking loss to the Bears, on his locker radio. He also played a remix of the tape, and the full interview. Laughter and jokes of this nature point to a team that has not yet lost faith or focus.
Ken Whisenhunt said that the have had a “good week at practice” and that they are “consistently working”. That’s all I can ask of a team that is doing it’s best to improve every week. They are loose, clear-headed and, best of all, hungry to win.
Luckily for the Cardinals, Charlie Whitehurst will be starting for the Seahawks against the New York Giants. That all but assures a loss for them.
The only bird that won’t be suiting up on Sunday for the Cardinals will be Clark Haggans. Of course this injury depletes the defense, but with O’Brien Schofield and Gerald Hayes stepping up, you shouldn’t miss Haggans too much. He is “day to day until ready”.
Running back Beanie Wells should be able to play, as the swelling in his knee has gone down. He “did a lot more in practice today”, said coach Ken Whisenhunt. “(If there are) no issues with practice tomorrow, he’ll be fine.”
The Cardinals will look to improve their running game in the face of a hostile crowd and inconsistent quarterback play, even though “it’s what defenses are taking away.” Due to the inability to pass the football, opposing defenses are stacking the box. Ken Whisenhunt finds this encouraging, however, as his team has had “success in the face of that.”
The story did change when Whisenhunt was asked about the play of tackle Brandon Keith, who was struggled this season, especially on the road. ““I’m not going to comment about that until after this game,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s a trap, because as soon as you ask me that and I say something … going into this environment.” Hopefully Keith gives the Cardinals something good to say.
The game plan against Minnesota won’t change much regardless of who plays. Brett Favre is banged up (but will play, of course); Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin likely won’t go. Whisenhunt said that they don’t operate differently, no matter who is in the game. Simply put, the Cardinals will look to “stop 28” (Adrian Peterson) and hopefully, the Vikings off-field drama will also play into the Cardinals hands.