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Upstart Cardinals eye first 2-0 start since 1991 season

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

SEATTLE – Kurt Warner was a sophomore backup quarterback at Northern Iowa. He had yet to famously stock grocery shelves or become an improbable NFL and Super Bowl MVP.

Edgerrin James was a 13-year-old middle schooler in Immokalee, Fla., not a University of Miami or Indianapolis Colts star runner.

Dennis Green?

“I know I wasn’t here,” the chuckling Arizona coach said this week when asked if he knew the last time the Cardinals were 2-0.

Almost nobody was. It was 1991. Green was the coach at Stanford – and only two players on Arizona’s 53-man roster were even of legal drinking age – the last time the Cardinals began a season with two wins.

Sunday, the “new” Cardinals (1-0) will find out whether they are upstart ones. They will challenge the NFC West-ruling Seahawks (1-0) in Seattle’s home opener at Qwest Field.

The defending NFC champions have won 10 consecutive regular-season games and 22 of their past 25 at home.

“Oh, obviously it’s huge for us. Where they were last year, what kind of team they are. To have to go to their place,” Warner said. “If we can beat a team like Seattle, overcome them in the division, overcome them on the road, it means a lot for this organization and what we’re trying to accomplish.”

The Seahawks are sore after a skittish 9-6 win at Detroit.

Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has been favoring his ribs in practices this week. League MVP Shaun Alexander got whacked in the head, gained only 51 yards and had his second lost fumble in two seasons.

Whether newly acquired receiver Deion Branch makes his Seahawks debut likely will matter less Sunday than whether the offensive line improves. Coach Mike Holmgren challenged his blockers with their jobs after Detroit sacked Hasselbeck five times.

Sunday’s test led Warner to mention something Arizona hasn’t done since 1974.

“Your first goal every year is to win your division,” said Warner. “For us to do that, we’ve got to go through Seattle. Everybody knows that.”


• Oakland at Baltimore, 10 a.m., CBS

• Arizona at Seattle, 1 p.m., Fox

• Kansas City at Denver, 1 p.m., CBS

• Washington at Dallas, 5:15 p.m., NBC

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