Arians: Cardinals benefit from tight game vs. Packers

Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has no concerns about his team's sluggish start in the past two games.

In fact, Arians stressed during Wednesday's news conference that the tight back-and-forth battle with Green Bay in the Divisional Round of the playoffs was "very beneficial to us."

Confident that Carson Palmer and the rest of the Cardinals got their postseason jitters out of the way, Arians said he's seen a "different football team" this week.

Palmer conceded that he and others were tentative versus the Packers from "wanting it so bad." Still, he seconded Arians' opinion that the mindset has been different since the second half of last week's thriller.

Playing tight is "not our style," Palmer added.

Here's what else we learned from Wednesday's news conference:

  1. The Cardinals are obsessed with limiting the impact of Panthers tight end Greg Olsen. "Greg's going to be a problem because he's everywhere," Arians said. "He is their focal point. If we take him out of the passing game, that's 40 percent of their offense. That's our goal. That's hard to do, though."
  1. Arians labeled Jonathan Stewart "as good as you get" at running back. The Cardinals coach pointed out that Stewart's job isn't to break off long runs. "When you hand it to him, you want five," Arians said. "Five real physical ones."
  1. Arians offered high praise for Larry Fitzgerald's preparation and penchant for coming through with the game on the line. "Great players play great in big games," Arians offered. "And that's how you get to the Hall of Fame. Some guys shrivel in the moment, some guys flourish in the moment. He flourishes in the moment."
  1. Fizgerald wasn't the only wide receiver to earn praise. Arians believes Michael Floyd would have had a 1,500-yard season had he not broken three fingers early in training camp.
  1. Palmer insisted "there is no issue" with the late-season finger injury on his throwing hand.
  1. The Cardinals weren't about to start a war of words with Panthers cornerback Josh Norman. "If anybody reminds you of Richard Sherman," Palmer said, "It's him." Patrick Peterson also acknowledged that Norman is a "good player" and has earned the right to be called "arguably one of the best defensive backs in the league."
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