Cardinals Are Goal Orientated During Bye Week

The Cardinals hope to accomplish three main goals during the bye week. The first is easy: enjoy the victory over the Cowboys last week. It's the team's biggest win in several years, and with the off week, there's no reason not to savor it. Here are the second and third goals for the first place Cardinals and some player notes as well.

The second goal is to rest and try to return to health. The Cardinals are practicing just once this week, on Wednesday, and several key players need the rest to prepare for the final 10 games.

The third goal is to try and figure out a way to win on the road. The Cardinals are a much worse team there than they are at home at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

Three of the next four games are on the road: at Carolina and St. Louis and then a game at Seattle follows a Monday night game at home against the 49ers.

The Cardinals have a chance to have all of their key players healthy for the Carolina game. Receiver Anquan Boldin might be back from a facial fracture. Defensive ends/outside linebackers Travis LaBoy and Bertrand Berry might be over their groin strains. Tight end Ben Patrick might be back from a knee injury.

Boldin has missed two games, but there has been a silver lining to his absence. Steve Breaston has proven he can be an effective starter, catching 15 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown in the games Boldin has missed.

Boldin's injury also allowed J.J. Arrington to play. A situational running back, Arrington replaced Breaston as the kick returner, because coaches wanted to reduce some of Breaston's responsibilities.

Arrington had a 93-yard kickoff return against Dallas and has made contributions on offense, too. When Boldin returns, he will rejoin an offense that has increased its versatility.

NOTES, QUOTES

--WR Larry Fitzgerald probably isn't getting enough credit nationally for the season he's having. Fitzgerald has caught everything that's come his way, and a few passes that haven't. Fitzgerald has 36 receptions for 546 yards and five touchdowns. On this pace he would finish with 96 receptions, 1,508 yards and 13 touchdowns. The yards and touchdowns would be career highs.

Fitzgerald doesn't mind the lack of attention. Actually, he prefers it, he said. "Under the radar," he said, "that's where I like to be."

--Wide receiver Sean Morey is recognized as one of the league's elite special teams players, yet he had never been chosen for player of the week honors in his eight NFL seasons. Until this week. Morey earned the honor after blocking a punt in overtime against Dallas and registering four special teams tackles, a career high.

--While pleased with the victory over Dallas, coach Ken Whisenhunt wasn't happy that the team gave up a 70-yard touchdown pass to running back Marion Barber in the final minutes. What bugged Whisenhunt the most was that a couple of his players let up in their pursuit because they thought Barber was going to run out of bounds.

"I saw some missed tackles, a bad angle on our pursuit," Whisenhunt said. "I think a number of our guys thought he was down ... or that he actually was going to run out of bounds. We can't do that. We have to find a way to get him down."

--The Cardinals won the toss last week for the fifth time in six games. On the previous four occasions, they deferred and received the ball to open the second half. Against Dallas, however, they took the ball.

"I knew we were going to catch and run it back for a touchdown," Whisenhunt said. "I thought it might be good to start with a touchdown. Sorry, I couldn't resist that."

J.J. Arrington returned the opening kick 93 yards for the score.

--Like a pianist, quarterback Kurt Warner plans to take care of his hands during the bye week. He's nursing a sore right index finger and his left hand is bruised. "I'm fortunate I didn't break any bones in my fingers like Tony (Dallas quarterback Tony Romo) did. I've been there and it's no fun."

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 - That's the number of times the club has had a winning record after six games since moving to Arizona in 1988. The Cardinals lost the next game the previous two seasons.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

RB J.J. Arrington continues to make big plays on special teams and on offense. It raises the question of why he was inactive the first four weeks of the season. Backup fullback Tim Castille was active instead for those games. While a decent special teams player, Castille is not in Arrington's class as a playmaker.

PLAYER NOTES

--NT Gabe Watson is rounding into shape. He's played two games now and his workload is increasing. Watson was inactive the first four games while recovering from a fractured kneecap.

--CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is struggling. He's given up touchdown passes in the past two games. Against Dallas, he wasn't the team's nickel corner. Instead, safety Antrel Rolle moved into that spot with Aaron Francisco playing safety.

--C Lyle Sendlein has been uneven this season. He's had trouble with quicker defensive tackles, especially nose tackles in the 3-4. Only in his second year, Sendlein is learning, but the club does miss Al Johnson, who is on injured reserve.

--DE/OLB Bertrand Berry has a sack in each of the four games in which he's played.

INJURY IMPACT:

--WR Anquan Boldin might be able to return for the Carolina game, although there is little information about his injury, other than it was a facial fracture.

--DE/OLB Travis LaBoy suffered a groin injury against Dallas, the extent of which is unknown. LaBoy underwent an MRI this week and likely won't do much until practice resumes next week.

--TE Ben Patrick is dealing with a knee injury that kept him out of last week's game. His injury leaves the club thin at tight end. Starter Leonard Pope is coping with a sore foot/ankle and Jerame Tuman has a thigh bruise.

--SS Adrian Wilson is still limited by a hamstring strain. He likely will receive a lot of rest this week.


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