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  Arizona Cardinals - Team Report
December 30, 2011
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The Cardinals didn't make the playoffs for the second consecutive season, but the team is ending the year feeling pretty good about itself.

That's because the Cardinals started horribly, losing six of the first seven, then rebounded to win six of seven before losing to the Bengals last week.

It doesn't sound as if the Cardinals will coast in the season finale against the Seahawks. The Cardinals have lost three consecutive games to the division foe, including 13-10 earlier this season.

And finishing the season at 8-8 should be considered a significant accomplishment, coach Ken Whisenhunt said.

"I think it means a lot," Whisenhunt said. "I think back to '07 when we finished 8-8, it gave us some momentum going into the offseason and we had a pretty decent year the next year.

"When you start out like we did at 1-6 and pretty much everybody writes you off, to have the opportunity to get back to 8-8 ... it's a significant turnaround. We want to make sure that we continue to work for that."

A loss would give the Cardinals their second consecutive losing season.

SERIES HISTORY: 26th regular-season meeting. Cardinals lead series, 13-12, but the Seahawks have won the last three games. They beat the Cardinals, 13-10, earlier this season. The Cardinals played without running back Beanie Wells, who had a hamstring injury. The Cardinals converted just 3 of 14 third down opportunities, and Kevin Kolb had two interceptions, including two inside the Seahawks' 25-yard-line. Cardinals kicker Jay Feely missed attempts of 51 and 49 yards.



PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES



--SS Adrian Wilson made the Pro Bowl for the fifth time, and this one might have been the biggest surprise, given the start of the season. Wilson suffered a torn biceps muscle early in training camp, yet played through it. He struggled in a new defensive system over the first month, admitting he was "horrible" during that period.

"I want to thank my teammates and the coaching staff and the whole organization for sticking with me and being patient with me," Wilson said. "This is much more about them than me. Obviously I struggled early on, but things like that happen. It was an up-and-down year and it started off bad ... the cards were stacked against us, so to speak."

--This will likely be the first season since 2006 in which WR Larry Fitzgerald finishes with fewer than 90 receptions. He has 71 but his 17.8-yard per catch average is about three yards higher than his previous high, set in 2008.

"I would have loved to be more productive in terms of catches," Fitzgerald said. "I feel like the more times I'm able to touch the ball, I like to feel I'll be able to make things happen. But that's the way it's gone this year, and I'm going to keep fighting no matter what the circumstances are, if I have 130 catches or if I have 30 catches."

--CB Patrick Peterson made the Pro Bowl as a kick returner. He'll be going to Hawaii with SS Adrian Wilson and WR Larry Fitzgerald, but the two veterans are confident they won't have to give their young teammate any advice about handling the week of festivities.

"Honestly, the one thing I've always noticed about Patrick from the day I met him, working out with him this offseason and being around him a lot every day, is the guy has the disposition of a 10-year vet," Fitzgerald said. "I mean, he has a quiet confidence around him, an understanding and a maturity that you would expect out of a guy who has been in the league a lot longer. And I'm pretty sure he's going to go over there (Hawaii) and do above and beyond what he needs to do and enjoy the experience with his family."

--DE Calais Campbell' agent and the Cardinals are continuing to work out contract negotiations. Campbell, who is finishing his fourth season, is due to be an unrestricted free agent. He's increased his value with an excellent season. He leads the team in sacks with 8 and has blocked three field goals and deflected 11 passes. He also has an interception, two force fumbles and a fumble recovery. He has 72 tackles.

BY THE NUMBERS: 6 -- That's the number of fumble recoveries S Kerry Rhodes has in two seasons with the team. He had two last week. Rhodes missed eight games this season because of a broken foot.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He practices hard Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. He's out there like it's game day. To see a young guy do that, I'm proud of him. Just during the course of the year and everything that kind of came with that draft status. He was a special teamer but he is a pretty good corner, too. To have this type of acknowledgement at a very young age, man, I've very proud of him." -- SS Adrian Wilson on rookie CB Patrick Peterson.



STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

Coach Ken Whisenhunt is approaching this final game as he would any other, meaning if a player is cleared to play, he'll play. The Cardinals have two big question marks entering Sunday's game: quarterback Kevin Kolb and cornerback Patrick Peterson. Kolb has missed the last two games with a concussion. Peterson sustained an Achilles injury last week. No surgery is needed but he has some tendinitis. One school of thought is to hold both players out of a meaningless game. But Whisenhunt doesn't consider it meaningless. Finishing 8-8 after a 1-6 start would be significant, he said. If Kolb can't play, John Skelton will start for the seventh time this season. If Peterson can't play, Richard Marshall and A.J. Jefferson would start at cornerbacks. Marshall has been starting, but Jefferson has been rotating in at that spot, too.

PLAYER NOTES

--DE Calais Campbell leads the team with eight sacks and three blocked field goals. He has 11 passes defensed. That's the fourth-best total on the team behind three defensive backs: S Adrian Wilson (14), CB Patrick Peterson (13) and CB Richard Marshall (12).

--RB Beanie Wells has gained 1,047 rushing yards, his most in three seasons. It's only the sixth 1,000-yard rusher the Cardinals have had since moving to Arizona in 1988. Edgerrin James had 1,222 in 2007, the most by an Arizona Cardinal.

--FS Kerry Rhodes had two fumble recoveries last week, giving him six in two years with the team.

--WR Larry Fitzgerald has 15 receptions of at least 25 yards this season. Only Miami's Brandon Marshall has more (16).

--QB Kevin Kolb has made 16 starts in five seasons. He has completed 59.8 percent of his passes for 3,670 yards, 19 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

INJURY IMPACT

--QB Kevin Kolb is limited in practice because of a concussion suffered three games ago. He is still suffering from concussion symptoms and it seems unlikely he will play on Sunday.

--CB/PR Patrick Peterson is missing practice time this week with an Achilles injury. He doesn't have a tear or a rupture but has pain from tendinitis.

--RT Brandon Keith missed last week's game with an ankle injury. He's not likely to play in the finale.

--RB Beanie Wells agains will be limited in practice this week because of a knee injury. He has played in every game despite it.

--S Sean Considine has missed the last two games with a foot injury.

GAME PLAN: The Cardinals won't shy away from looking downfield against the Seahawks. They thought they had big plays that could have been made during the loss earlier this season. They know they aren't going to get much running room against Seattle's front, so it wouldn't be surprising to see the Cardinals spread the field and work the quick passing game. Defensively, the Cardinals will concentrate on stopping running back Marshawn Lynch. They should feel confident about their secondary against the Seahawks receiver. Safeties Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes could play in the box at times.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Cardinals DE Calais Campbell vs. LG Robert Gallery -- Gallery didn't play in the first game, and Campbell had a big day, mostly against Paul McQuistan. McQuistan is now playing left tackle, and Campbell will be matched up against him, too. Campbell had 2.5 sacks, 10 tackles and four quarterback hits that game.

Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald vs. CB Brandon Browner -- At 6-4 and 221 pounds, Browner is the rare corner who has the size to match up with Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald had five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks in week three. The touchdown was an amazing 28-yard grab over two Seahawks.

   
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