The Arizona Cardinals, who got off to a notoriously slow 1-6 start last season, have home field advantage in the early portion of the 2012 campaign. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt marveled at the prospect of hitting the ground running and reversing his team's fortunes this year.
"The first thing that stood out to me was having a lot of home games early," Whisenhunt told Arizona Sports 620's Doug and Wolf Tuesday. "We haven't had that in the time that I've been here so to get three out of the first four at home was something that was different and I think as a team that we want to build off the momentum that we finished with last season and I think that gives us a chance to do that."
Whisenhunt credits the tremendous support from Cardinals fans who have contributed to the team's 63 straight home sellouts.
"With the way our fans have been, let's face it, they've been fantastic for us," Whisenhunt stated. "It's created home field advantage and I think early in the season to have that should be something that's good for us."
The Cardinals also have two prime-time games and both are against divisional foes. The first of which is in Week 5, a Thursday night game, when the Cardinals travel to St. Louis to take on the Rams. The second takes place in Week 8, a Sunday night game, at home against the 49ers. Whisenhunt said his players relish the opportunity to play in the national spotlight.
"Our players like the national games; they want to be on that stage," Whisenhunt said.
While Whisenhunt is excited that his troops will have a chance to showcase their talents in front of a national audience, he is concerned about preparing for a short week afterwards.
But, one area of the schedule that is not of concern to the Cardinals' head coach is the quality of opponents his team will face.
"I think that we're playing some good football teams, you know that coming in just because the NFC North has some good football teams and the AFC East has got some teams that have played some good football so you know that's going to impact you," Whisenhunt said.
Instead of focusing on his competition, Whisenhunt will turn his attention towards managing the challenges that are associated with a potentially grueling travel schedule.
"I think it's more important to us about how we play, that's the number one thing, and what it's going to mean to us as far as travel goes because it's so difficult for us to win on the road," Whisenhunt stated.
While Whisenhunt doesn't know what the schedule or the season will hold for the Cardinals, he is confident in his troops' ability to build upon last season's strong finish.
"I think our players are excited on trying to carry the momentum on how we finished last season," Whisenhunt said. "I really think that we got a lot of young players that recognize that going 7-2 in our last nine games was pretty important for us. I think they recognize what they had to do in order to accomplish that. I think it helps us going forward because they want that to continue."