Questions Loom for Cardinals Season Finale
Beanie Wells (Getty)
Beanie Wells (Getty)

Posted Dec 29, 2009


With the possibility the Cardinals will play the Packers in the opening round of the playoffs, one week after the teams meet to end the regular season, Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt will face a decision about how seriously to take the season finale.

It could be tempting for Ken Whisenhunt to rest his starters and to use a mundane game plan in Sunday's home game.

The Cardinals could wind up with the third or fourth seed in the NFC, but in either scenario they still could play the Packers in the first round.

"Some of it revolves around the health of our team, and if there's anything that pops up," Whisenhunt said. "I will have a better feel for that Wednesday or (Tuesday)."

The Cardinals are in reasonably good health, but as with most teams, they have plenty of players nursing bumps and bruises. The club hasn't had a bye since the fourth week of the season, so resting some key players, including quarterback Kurt Warner, will be tempting.

Ken Whisenhunt & Kurt Warner
(Getty)

But Whisenhunt likes the rhythm his offense displayed last week against the Rams, and he isn't anxious to do anything to disrupt that.

Thus it would be surprising to see him rest Warner and starters such as receiver Anquan Boldin and receiver Larry Fitzgerald for more than a half.

"It's going to be awful hard to keep Kurt or Larry (Fitzgerald) or Anquan off the field," Whisenhunt said. "I'm just telling you that right up front. Those guys want to play, especially when they feel like they are in a little bit of rhythm."

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Cardinals have won 10 games this season for the first time since 1976. In that same period, the Cardinals have lost at least 10 games 18 times.

--The Cardinals have had three consecutive non-losing seasons for the first time since 1982-84. The Cardinals also went through the season without consecutive losses for the first time since 1975.

--Players who had been with the team through the lean years celebrated this season's 10th victory. In Arizona, it was cause to smile.

"The young guys really don't know," defensive end Darnell Dockett said. "For guys who have been around here playing at Sun Devil Stadium with those terrible uniforms, locked up in a little box locker room, it means a lot to us."

--Strong safety Adrian Wilson became the 10th player in NFL history to record 20 sacks and 20 interceptions in his career. After getting a sack on Sunday against the Rams, Wilson was congratulated at his locker by Cardinals great Larry Wilson, a Hall of Fame safety. "It meant a lot to me," Adrian Wilson said, "to know that he was the guy who invented the safety blitz and revolutionized the game. You have to be appreciative of the people who came before and laid those bricks down."

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

Neil Rackers
(Getty)

PLAYER NOTES

--K Neil Rackers is expected to kick in practice this week after missing two games with a torn groin muscle. Rackers might not return until the first round of the playoffs, however.

--WR Larry Fitzgerald suffered a left elbow contusion but is expected to be available for Sunday's game against the Packers.

--CB Greg Toler suffered a left elbow contusion, but X-rays revealed no fracture, and Toler is expected to return to action. --WR Early Doucet caught the first touchdown pass of his career, an 18-yard pass from QB Kurt Warner.

--S Rashad Johnson played better in his role in the dime packages than the week before. CB Bryant Johnson gave up the Rams' only touchdown.

--LT Jeremy Bridges struggled in pass protection against Rams DE Chris Long. Long beat Bridges to the outside a handful of times and was effective against the run, too.

--OLB Will Davis could play this week after missing five games because of a knee injury. Davis practiced last week but was inactive for the game.



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