Cardinals looking to ’embrace the challenge’ of postseason play

Jan 10, 2022, 5:40 PM
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury follows the play during the first half of an NFL footb...
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury follows the play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Michigan USA, on Sunday, December 19, 2021. (Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Just like that, the regular season has come to a close.

Ready or not, the quest for a Super Bowl kicks into overdrive for the Arizona Cardinals and head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who along with quarterback Kyler Murray, is cracking the postseason for the first time since arriving to the Valley in 2019.

But unlike the other playoff teams, Arizona will have a little more time on its hands as it preps for a Monday night Wild Card battle against the Los Angeles Rams.

“You just embrace the challenge,” Kingsbury said Monday. “Obviously, we haven’t been a part of that yet but we’ve played some really good football games and teams and worked our way to this point. It’s about taking that next step and embracing it.”

The Cardinals have an off day Monday before they reconvene for some film study on Tuesday prior to hitting the field Thursday for the first day of practice.

RB James Conner still being evaluated

While the Cardinals embark on their week of preparation for Los Angeles, a key piece to the team’s success this season in running back James Conner remains a question mark.

The running back had turned in yet another multi-touchdown outing to go along with 93 scrimmage yards before exiting with a ribs injury early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 38-30 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He did not return.

“He’s still being evaluated (Monday),” Kingsbury said. “And so we’ll see how that kind of shakes out over the next couple of days.

“Hopefully it’s not too serious, but we won’t know for a couple of days.”

Conner isn’t the only Cardinals running back banged up, either, as Chase Edmonds works his way back from toe and ribs injuries.

Cards hopeful CB Marco Wilson, 2 others can contribute this week

On the defensive side of the football, Kingsbury is hopeful the trio of cornerbacks Marco Wilson, recently signed Bashaud Breeland and Kevin Peterson, who was injured in Sunday’s loss, can contribute in some form throughout the week and eventually feel good enough to play.

And with the matchup slated for Monday night, Cardinals players have an extra day to recover.

“I think it comes at the right time with some lingering injuries we’ve had with some key contributors trying to get them back on the field,” Kingsbury said of the added day. “I think it’ll be good for us to reset, get that extra day and prepare to try and win this this week.

“I think it’s sudden death and it’s one and your done if you don’t get it done. And so that is our sole focus. We’re not worried about anything past Monday night.”

Arizona Cardinals

Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals calls a play in the huddle against the Seattle Seahawks at...
Sam Graveline

Cardinals look to take advantage of primetime playoff opportunity vs. Rams

Playing on Monday night, all eyes will be on the Cardinals and the Rams as the division foes put a bow on Wild Card Weekend in the NFL. 
2 days ago
Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals drops back to pass during the NFL game against...
Kellan Olson

Arizona Cardinals’ 2021 meetings with Los Angeles Rams, by the numbers

A divisional matchup in the playoffs means we've got the healthiest sample size possible from the regular season.
6 days ago
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) reacts after wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (1) catches a...
Associated Press

Josh Allen tosses 5 touchdowns to lead Bills over Patriots

Josh Allen threw five touchdown passes to lead the Buffalo Bills to a Wild Card win over the division rival New England Patriots.
2 days ago
Cincinnati Bengals' Ja'Marr Chase (1) runs during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff footb...
Associated Press

Bengals hold off Raiders to win first playoff game in 31 years

Kicking off the NFL playoffs, the Bengals held on to beat the Raiders 26-19 to earn the franchise's first playoff win since 1991.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) is sacked by Los Angeles Rams defensive end Morgan F...
Alex Weiner

Rams defense keyed in on bottling up Cardinals QB Kyler Murray

Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris said he expects to get Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray's best this week.
2 days ago
The Los Angeles Rams won't have either of their starting safeties in Monday's Wild Card round game ...
Alex Weiner

Rams down safeties Taylor Rapp, Fuller for Wild Card game vs. Cardinals

The Los Angeles Rams won't have either of their starting safeties in Monday's Wild Card round game against the Arizona Cardinals.
2 days ago
Cardinals looking to ’embrace the challenge’ of postseason play