Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians keeps getting asked about the rough weather headed toward Charlotte and Arians shrugs off each inquiry.
The plan all week was for the Cardinals to fly out of Phoenix on Saturday morning after a normal practice day Friday. A forecast of snow and ice in the Queen City didn’t change Arians’ thinking.
“As far as I know, we’re set to be in there and it should be cleared up,” Arians said of the wintry precipitation.
Arians said quarterback Carson Palmer has plenty of experience playing in bad weather from when he was with the Cincinnati Bengals. Arians said the only thing that could affect play Sunday evening would be strong wind.
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Loosen up: Arians said there’s no question the Cardinals looked like a looser group this week after they beat the Green Bay Packers in overtime to advance to the NFC Championship Game. The message Arians keeps sending: Don’t even think about the Super Bowl because everything else is moot if they can’t play their best game against the Carolina Panthers.
“Much more so than last week,” Arians said of the looseness he’s seen. “They got a (playoff) win under their belts. There’s a little more confidence and sometimes you can try too hard.”
There was talk after the Packers game that quarterback Carson Palmer was tight in the first half, possibly because he hadn’t won a playoff game in two previous tries.
As for focusing on the task at hand, Arians said, “Just playing one game for the Halas Trophy (NFC champion). That’s the only thing we’re trying to win this week, is the Halas Trophy. You do that day-to-day. Just stay in the moment. It’s not the Super Bowl; it’s the Halas Trophy.”
More Norman props: Cardinals star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald likes Panthers cornerback Josh Norman’s game so much that he’d love to remove it from the NFC.
“There’s a reason he’s going to be the highest-paid free agent come this offseason,” Fitzgerald said. “Whatever team he goes to, I hope it’s in the AFC, so we don’t have to deal with him.
“(When) you watch him on tape, there’s nothing that you say, ‘Oh, he struggles with this or he’s deficient at this.’ He comes up and plays the run, he tackles, he’s very instinctive in terms of reading through the quarterback to the receiver. He does a great job of route recognition. They do an unbelievable job in that secondary.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell