No Looking Back for Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals have the opportunity to celebrate a division title in front of a home crowd on Sunday. First, they must take on a team that keeps opponent's offense sidelined. The Giants arrive in the desert with an impressive resume, but the "work in progress" Cardinals plan to send them home defeated. Here is what Ken Whisenhunt had to say about NY's secondary, run game, control style play, etc.

Question:What do you see from the Giants' secondary so far on tape?

Ken Whisenhunt: I see an aggressive group of guys that obviously understand their coverage responsibilities and do a good job with it. They are very good tacklers, very physical, and they seem to be around a lot of balls.

When you look at the Giants' offensive line what are they doing that is making them so successful?

They work as well together as any group I have ever seen just as far as you can tell from their communication, how they set the double teams, how they work together on their pulls and even on their protections just what they do together.

I think that is probably the most important thing for an offensive line to be able to do. The one thing that I can tell from looking at them is that they have been together for a while and that they communicate together very well.

How big of a concern is it that they can run the ball so well and keep your offense off the field?

Well it is always a concern. This team, I think, got 33 minutes or 34 minutes in possession average, which is pretty significant so that is a concern of ours. A lot of times when you throw the ball as much as we do people don't see you as a ball-control type team and when you run the ball the way the Giants do, that is what they see you as.

They have had a great deal of success doing that and I know from having been in the AFC North for a number of years what kind of defense the Baltimore Ravens have and to see them run the ball on them like they did is very impressive. It is something that we are concerned about.


Arizona Cardinals
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Do you sense your fans are convinced you guys are a playoff contender, or would it help to have a win against the Giants?

Well I think definitely it would help to have a win against the Giants because whenever you have the credentials that this team has, that the Giants have, if we found a way somehow to get a win it would certainly give us some credibility.

I think our fans are for the most part excited about our team. I think there have been a number of years of disappointment and I believe that we need to get a few more wins and hopefully solidify that.

Do you have to make any adjustments if Brandon Jacobs doesn't play on Sunday?

No. Make adjustments? No. I think that you can take either one of those three backs and they can hurt you, so we are concerned enough with all three of them that if Jacobs does not play it won't make any difference. It might make us sleep a little better.

You can clinch you division with a win. Is it hard to get them focused with that out there?

Get them focused on? Not when you are playing a team like the Giants. I think not when you are playing the defending Super Bowl champs, no. I hope it is not hard to get them focused. I think that there is a lot of attention that comes with playing a team like this and that is not something that we have had very much of.


Kurt Warner and Ken Whisenhunt
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We haven't played in a lot of games like this so that is naturally easier to get up for games like this, but I think also too we are excited because we have a chance to make the playoffs and that hasn't happened around here very much. The town is very excited, our players are excited, and I think they are really excited too because we feel like we are making progress.

I think we all look at what the Giants did last year as far as getting on a late season run and doing what they did in the playoffs and we are all hoping that we can be the next Giants.

Did you find that you had to change the culture when you walked in the door out there? What were some of the things that you did?

I think that we had to gain the trust of the team that we were going to do it consistently, that we had a message, and that we were going to be able to have success doing it that way and that is something that just takes time. I think that winning eight games last year, which is something that they hadn't done a lot of, and winning the last two to get to that point our team started to believe that maybe we can do it this way if we practice this way, if we prepare this way, if we study this way, then it will work for us and I think we have just built on that this year.

We are still a work in progress. I don't by any means think that we are there, but I really believe that we got our team, our players, believing that they can win and I think that was evident by our last two week's games, where in the past maybe the Cardinals wouldn't have won those games and this time we did win them. I certainly believe that we are making progress that way.

What kind of physical advantage do you go out on the field with each week with your two starting receivers?

Gosh, I tell you what, it is nice to have two guys that can make plays for you in the pass game like that and that is a good part of the reason why we do throw it because it seems like, especially with both those two guys, if you throw it in their direction they are going to come down with the ball and that is such a big thing, especially when you are playing a team like the Giants where they have such good coverage, such tight coverage, it gives the quarterback confidence that he can put it in that area.


WR Anquan Boldin
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I can't tell you how many times, I am sure you have seen it too, where Larry or Anquan have made that catch, whether it is in traffic or whether it is jumping up over the top of a guy, those are the kind of things I think that give your quarterback supreme confidence that okay I can trust these guys and I am going to put it in this spot and they are going to make it work. That is a great advantage obviously with Larry and Anquan.

What have you guys done schematically to give Warner more time in the pocket to get the ball down the field?

Part of it is Kurt. I think he is doing a great job of getting rid of the ball. He understands our protections. Our line has done a very good job, Russ Grimm. Hopefully we are becoming like the Giants' offensive line. Our guys are doing a good job of communicating, we vary our protections, we understand the schemes, and Kurt, much like Eli does with their offense, kind of orchestrates it all so he understands the protections, he understands what we are trying to do, and there are a number of situations already this year where he has had to get rid of the ball quickly and we have been on the same page with our line and with our receivers.

I think that we have been able to change our protections up and Kurt has done a good job of getting rid of the ball.


RB Tim Hightower and RB J.J. Arrington
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What was the thinking behind making Tim Hightower the starter at running back?

Well we just felt like what we had seen of Tim in some of the situations that we put him in this year that he had success, he was an improving young player, he had a burst that, especially for some of the outside runs, we thought might help us, and that was really the reason that we did it. We hadn't had great success running the football and we were trying to look for ways that would help improve that.

We have incorporated J.J. Arrington into that a little bit as well. The real reason was just because we felt like Tim would give us a little bit more of an outside element and we thought it was compliment to what we were trying to do offensively.


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