GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson made his NFL debut in Arizona a little over a year ago.
He lost that game, but his Seahawks are 17-6 since as he evolved into a multi-dimensional dynamo at the controls of a powerful offense.
“I’m a 5-11 quarterback,” he said, “but I don’t think my height defines my skills.”
Wilson brings the Seahawks back to Arizona on tonight to a stadium where Seattle has struggled, losing five of its last six games at University of Phoenix Stadium. He said he returns a far better quarterback than he was that Sunday 13 months ago.
“The game has slowed down a lot for me,” Wilson said. “I understand our offense a lot more, the protection calls and all that. Just knowing my receivers, too.”
Seattle (5-1) has been virtually invincible at home, winning 11 in a row. The last time Arizona played there, on Dec. 9, it lost 58-0, the Cardinals’ most one-sided shutout loss in franchise history and a game that helped seal the fate of then-coach Ken Whisenhunt.
But the Seahawks have been vulnerable when they venture out of the Pacific Northwest. Their lone loss this season was at Indianapolis and their other two road games were close, 12-7 at Carolina and 23-20 in overtime at Houston.
Like Seattle, Arizona (3-3) toned down practices in a short week after a rough 32-20 loss at San Francisco.
The preparation, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said, has to be “all mental.”
“Getting to know your opponent without doing it full speed,” Arians said, “the nuances of an offensive game plan without running full speed. So it takes a lot of extra mental preparation.”
Fitzgerald vs. Sherman
Larry Fitzgerald has a sore hamstring, so that might make him easier for Seattle’s standout cornerback Richard Sherman to cover, although the wide receiver did go 75 yards on a touchdown pass play at San Francisco.
Palmer against Carroll
Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer goes against his old college coach Pete Carroll for the first time. Palmer won the Heisman Trophy playing for Carroll at USC.