Lineup Changes Sure to Come for Cardinals

Anquan Boldin (Jonathan Ferrey/Getty)

Coach Ken Whisenhunt isn't ruling out the possibility of lineup changes, but he's probably just using that as a motivation tactic. He doesn't have many options other than the guys who are starting. Whisenhunt isn't afraid to make bold changes. He benched Edgerrin James for rookie Tim Hightower. And in a lesser move, he started cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a rookie, over Eric Green.

But this deep into the season, the best players already are starting. If Ken Whisenhunt thought the backups were better options, he would have turned to them by now.

After all, the Cardinals aren't coming off just one bad game. They've lost four of their last five, and their last three defeats have been by an average of almost 30 points.

Finding a way to motivate his team to play with more passion is his biggest challenge now. The Cardinals have been flat in three of the four games they've played since it became obvious they were going to win the division title.

The players are saying all the right things, about playing with passion, about the need to turn things around, but so far none of them has done anything about it.

"You can make up a whole bunch of excuses," defensive lineman Bryan Robinson said, "but one thing is for sure, the last couple teams we played were desperate and had to win. And you almost feel like it should be us in that position where we have to get it. You play with more desperation. We will continue to lose like this until we figure out a way to be desperate every week and say, 'This is a must win for us.'"

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--QB Kurt Warner is coming off one of his worst days a pro. He completed six of 18 passes for 30 yards before leaving at the end of the third quarter. Warner was under pressure most of the game, and receivers dropped a couple of his passes.

--RB Tim Hightower is struggling as a starter. He isn't getting much room and he's dancing too much. He also dropped two passes last week.

--RB J.J. Arrington should be able to return this week after missing last week's game with a knee injury.

--RB Edgerrin James remains frustrated at his small role in the offense. He's barely playing, although he might be a better option at this time than Tim Hightower.

--WR Anquan Boldin is expected to play this week after missing last week's game against the Patriots because of a shoulder injury.

--WR Larry Fitzgerald isn't seeing much man coverage these days. Defenses are keeping both safeties back and are determined not to let the Cardinals receivers get deep.

--WR Steve Breaston is a solid third receiver who has produced throughout the year. He has developed into a solid deep threat.

--TE Stephen Spach is the starter, but he hasn't been a great blocker. He is still the team's best option, however.

--TE Leonard Pope doesn't play that much, even though the team has tried to run the ball the past few weeks.

--K Neil Rackers has made 19 of his last 20 field goals. His only miss came on a 68-yard fair-catch kick. Last week, all three of his kickoffs were touchbacks.

--OLB Travis LaBoy has a sprained ankle and might not be able to play on Sunday.

--SS Matt Ware has a calf injury and might miss Sunday's game.

--S Aaron Francisco has a rib injury and might miss Sunday's game.

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